(Short poem prompted by two items of news on the front page of the Daily Mirror (27.1.84.) Mr Gary Keeley 23 of Liverpool had committed suicide because he could not find work, and Navy Commander, Peter Harvey, Longhurst had started training to become Britain’s first astronaut.

The poem was a prize winner in the Hounslow art competition.

Ah yes! The British will get on the moon,
At last they’ve made a start,
A naval Astronaut in training soon
Will herald Skynet’s part.
And millions will be added to the cost
Whilst Taxes, Rates and Prices upward soar,
To boost a prestige that’s yet not lost,
This lunar thinking spotlights more

And yet in Liverpool a man has died
Jobless and on the dole
Youthful aspirations end in suicide
Without the chance to play even a humble Role
And what morality makes this take place,
And shall priorities be reversed and soon
So that a man can join the working race
And not be like one asking for the moon.

By William O’Donnell

©2013 The estate of William O’Donnell (Chiswick)

Below a photograph of William collecting his prize.

William collecting prize for Priorities

A letter from Daily Mirror editor – Paul Foot commending the poem ‘One of the great advantage of this job are the letters I get from people all over the country, and I enjoyed yours enormously.’

Daily Mirror 001