First Day at the Visitor Centre

(The speaker is a middle-aged woman from the North of England.  She has sensible shoes, disciplined hair and is wearing a corporate uniform.)

Right, love. Here's your name-badge and your clipboard.
As they're coming in, big smile! - then say
“Hello! Welcome to The Moral High Ground - an area of outstanding natural beauty.”
...and basically that's all you do, all day.

(“Natural beauty” - who came up with that one..?)
Oh - what'm I like? You haven't met the team!
That's Christine - weekdays she's on t' Gift Shop;
Jim, on toilets; Stacey on Ice-Creams.

D'ye know, they didn't use a single penny
of taxpayer's money building this?
Did it all by voluntary subscription.
They had a slogan...  How did it go, Chris?

"Adopt The Moral High Ground" - that was it!
Well, folk jumped at the chance.  Quite a to-do.
In the end, they had to vet the applications
- weed out the less deserving from the queue.

Now, before you let them through the barrier,
make sure they get this leaflet.  Legal guff.
The usual: Health and Safety, all that nonsense.
Covering us-selves - you know the stuff.

    The management accept no liability
    for personal loss or injury...etcetera.
    Any person(s) entering this amenity
    do so at entirely their own risk.

Why?  Well, there's a right stiff breeze up top, there.
Just as well: it blows away the stink.
What of..?  The toxins.  PCPs, Dioxins...
God knows what else - I dread to even think.

Fact is, y'see, it's just turfed-over landfill.
Not even real turf (they tried: it died).
That's artificial grass, that is - the posh stuff.
Beneath it?  Trust me, pet: best not to pry.

They did some tests once, found it was unstable:
hot-spots...  slippage...  great big gas-filled voids.
Every now and then we get a sink-hole.
No warning - all at once. Whoosh! Bye-bye, boys!

If one of those things opens up beneath you
- you might as well know now - you're on your own.
Once it's got you, nobody'll hear you.
You'll get no signal on your mobile phone.

Not that that'll matter.  You'll be choking,
chucking, blinded by your poisoned, burning tears
and then, in time, you'll just...well...dissolve into the slime
- so don't go getting any daft ideas.

Why don't they what, love?  CLOSE the place?  You're joking!
And face a scandal?  That'd never do.
Besides, there's nowt gives some folk greater pleasure
than to look down on the likes of me 'n' you.

Have I been up there?  Just once.  Didn't like it.
Never had a head for heights as such.
The punters?  My opinion?  Bunch of tossers.
But then again... who am I, to judge?

Ken Cumberlidge

If you have any comments on this poem, Ken Cumberlidge would be pleased to hear from you.