Committees

These groups exist, some guru says,
To make some more acquaintances
(So that at dinner you can say,
“Oh yes, I saw him yesterday”)
And to ensure the image is projected- -
You’re helpful and you’re well-connected.

The chair-man/lady is what’s meant
By pillar of the establishment.
Beavering far from spotlight’s glare,
With real decisions made elsewhere,
These glues of the community
In England earn an M.B.E.

Chairmen of both distinguished genders
Like to set their own agendas.
This, their most important role,
Gives them what they want - - control.
They’re happy to keep debate in play,
Provided they have the final say.

Some members love a good committee,
And revel in its nitty-gritty:
Arcane debates on last year’s failings,
The contents of circulars and mailings;
The annual dinner, drink and eats;
Optimization of receipts.

Others hold forth, expound, expand
On things they already understand - -
Like weather, beds and rock-and-roll;
Like parking cars and toilet rolls.
With substance they're inclined to freeze,
More often they are absentees.

Then there are those, about a third,
Who, if they have views, are seldom heard.
They arrive, they sit, look lost in thought,
But are they thinking what they ought?
As supernumeraries they shirk,
Avoiding tasks and paperwork.

“We need some minutes, that's agreed,
Just the decisions, not a screed.
But who's to write them.?’No not me,
I shall be in Waikiki,
Sunning on a sandy beach.
Sorry! I’ll be out of reach!”

Meanwhile, some champing at the bit,
Are pondering whether they should quit.
They are not there for social fun,
But simply, yes, to get things done.
They move, they shake, their presence fleeting,
And off they flash to their next meeting.

Their exit quickly ends debate.
The chairman asks about the date
(making the remaining members fidget)
Of a meeting to discuss the budget.
Members naturally avoid the rigors
Of digesting all those boring figures.

Thus we progress much like a snail.
Leaving achievement satisfaction
To that rarity, the man of action.

Oh, well. Back to adding those amounts
For last year’s rather late accounts!

November 2007