Five to five

They’re dropping like flies
As the plague sweeps the ranks
Rows of workstations empty
While telephone banks

Ring loud through the silence
And gathering gloom
As Thursday-night callers
Take turns round the room

One lone operator
Soon pales at the noise
And grasps at the handset
With grimace in place

For over-mic’d trawlers
That given the choice
She’d give neither date
Time, directions, nor voice

It’s almost the hour
That her shift’s at an end
But one final nuisance
Is waiting to rend

The last of her sanity
Ripped down the wire
Complaining injustices
Crude, uninspire

No longer the patience
To handle such groans
She’s wanting her bed
And an end to all ‘phones

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