Tom Hodgkinson, editor of the Idler, was the main guest on Saturday Live. His advocacy of the idle life came under attack from another guest who, it seemed to me, misunderstood what Tom was talking about. This poem balanced things up a bit.


for some people idle’s
an unwelcome label
amounting to libel
they’ll bridle, get upset
for them idler’s an epithet

they see
lounging scroungers, scheming spongers
loafers lapping up free lunches

what really needles re the idle
is not only do they have more fun
it’s frankly amazing how much they get done

for the idle are quirky and perky and pert
& should not be confused with the merely inert

they’re statistically more likely
to play the ukelele
and to take part in a ceilidh

to make time for sketching , hop-scotching, bird watching,
for stretching, plot-hatching, back-scratching,
and keeping in touch via actual touching

time for more than mere louche lazing
but for intellectual grazing
and, dare I say it, navel gazing
because the unexamined navel is not worth piercing

some say they daren’t be idle
it’s a question of survival
for the hand that rocks the cradle
to be idle’s suicidal
a catastrophe of creditors
will circle us like predators

but it’s always worth checking
one’s deep default setting

for while the icons on the desktop
say ‘liberal’ or ‘libertarian’
maybe something on the motherboard’s
still set to ‘Presbyterian’

so go on, be idle, you deserve it

in fact, Idlers, rise up from your divan, futon, bean bag or sofa and…
…nah, slump down again, it isn’t worth it

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