The Tale of John Major

by Paul Martin Freeman (November 2023)


The Number 61: Back in Town
The Legend of Josey Farage

John Major’s on the number 61:
He’s pouting his disgust at Orpington.
That Boris Johnson’s spoiling all the fun
Of watching cricket in his cardigan.

The daffs and roses need some careful tending;
The stupid chicken’s eaten through the wire;
And since he hurt his back the fence needs mending,
But here his watchful eye’s on something higher.

A man is sometimes called upon by Heaven
To fight for truth and right the ship of state.
And now it’s time to oil his Smith and Wesson
And save the country from a grubby fate.

The rowdy Johnson Gang’s been threatening trouble
Since all that business back in June 16,
A vote that here inside the metro bubble
No savvy city pundit had foreseen.

But now he’s learned they’re going to make their move:
Their train arrives at Orpington at noon.
And though retired, his manhood must he prove
As no one from dishonour is immune.

Remainers everywhere are scared and frightened;
Their hopes of joy in Europe just a mirage.
Since Covid struck, the Johnson waistline’s tightened,
And now he’s got the Outlaw Josey Farage!

The pair are on their way here with their sidekicks
And word is out they’ve robbed the EU stage.
In Brussels all recall this Josey’s antics
Where none his noisy fury could assuage.

And who’ll forget the showdown with Van Rompuy?
At what he did that day not look askance?
As Caesar at Pharsalus did for Pompey
So little Belgium never stood a chance!

But bravely had Van Rompuy held his ground
When black-clad Farage challenged him to draw.
And no one in the chamber made a sound
As presidents and members gaped in awe.

At first Van Rompuy brushes off the taunts,
Dismissing Farage’s enormous gun.
Then Farage UKIP’s polling figures vaunts
And laughs derisively—he’s having fun!

Van Rompuy won’t endure such vile contempt!
There’s only so much any man can stand!
He’ll give it all he’s got in one attempt
And peace on earth and all that tosh be damned!

Van Rompuy slowly starts to make his move,
But hesitates: he knows that anger’s wrong!
What does, he muses, fighting ever prove?
It’s our diversity which makes us strong!

Van Rompuy’s hesitation though proves fatal:
A major lesson then John Major learned.
Be firm of purpose and to Norma faithful
And never from your plan of action turned!

For Josey Farage then had seized the moment.
He knew Van Rompuy wasn’t going to fire,
But everyone had witnessed Belgium’s movement
The consequences now of which were dire.

The Outlaw smiles and draws his giant weapon—
The biggest members here have ever seen!
For Belgium once again it’s Armageddon
Anticipating dreadful June 16.

Then Josey laughs aloud and pulls the trigger.
The energy released that day remains unknown,
But all believe it of an order bigger
Than Brussels in its whole career had shown!

The EU shakes and totters with the blast!
Along with Belgium now it hits the floor!
While Farage jeers as members stare aghast
And rides his powerful stallion out the door!

John Major mulls this famous leavers’ legend
And knows the moment’s come at last for action.
His life’s entire work he feels is threatened,
Yet doesn’t want to end again in traction.

He’ll stand against them all like Gary Cooper
With Norma standing in for lovely Grace.
The Johnson Gang has every famous shooter
But fight he must or else accept disgrace.

Yes, once again the issue’s baleful Brexit:
It’s threatening now to bring the country down.
But John’s the man the nation needs to fix it:
The world will know the Marshal’s back in town!


The Number 301: Valediction
John Major makes his farewells

John Major’s on the number 301;
He’s talking to himself at Plumstead Station.
Those rotten horrid Brexiteers have won
Despite his fearless efforts at persuasion.

He’d stood there like a man and faced them down,
Yet sometimes courage isn’t quite enough.
They may have gathered who was back in town
But couldn’t grasp the economic stuff.

The country’s heading for complete disaster;
No more though will the Marshal’s pistol fire.
He’s hanging up his shooting iron and holster,
And to his daffodils will John retire.


Table of Contents


Paul Martin Freeman is an art dealer in London. The poem is from The Bus Poems: Tales Sacred and Profane, currently in preparation. His book, A Chocolate Box Menagerie, is published by New English Review Press and is available here.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


2 Responses

  1. I cannot find a good word to cover the whole poem, but as always , it was great fun.

    I also loved the last line , noting his retirement specification.

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