Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Chattering Classes

2004 June 5:
or: the Whine-and-Cheese Stand-Around Lament
tune: The Wagoner’s Lad

The chattering classes in the party room stand;
they munch on canapés with wine glass in hand,
talk of who’s got a grant and who’s sleeping with whom,
and what stark new scenario portends the world’s doom:

The planet is warming – or has it turned cold?
tech is out of control – or is progress on hold?
there are too many people – or not quite enough;
and however you paint it, the picture looks rough.

Woes real and imaged they bewail without end;
they don’t know how much works, but they’re sure how to mend.
And how strangely it happens their cares all inflate
the take of the taxman, and the power of the state.

If I built me a starship and sailed the deep blue,
and I found a new species much like me and you,
though their skins were pale green and their cocktails pitch-black –
would their chatter drive me crazy, make me want to sail back?

copyright © Eric Layman 2004


  1. Hello to all who read this - this is Eric's youngest brother John ... it is so good to see this up. Eric made many efforts to reach people through his poetry,and the day of the celebration at the PAL was a most incredible event. I met many of his contemporaries that day,some from way back during his "selling poetry on the street" days,some of more recent days.Money was not the huge concern/need for him,as it can be for so many others. This was evidenced by his sense of dignity,regardless of circumstance,and by his happiness from life's smaller things - often people,in and of themselves. Reading this was an emotional experience - I hope to add some more & I hope more folks add to this,as well as myself.

  2. I have recorded the song "The Chattering Classes"
    and it will be available by Feb. or Mar. 2011.
    I have recorded "All I need of Heaven" and is now available at

    Matt Finlayson

  3. I knew him in Yorkville in the 60s, and enjoyed his presence, and I'll certainly agree about the "cranky" part...


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