Image by Ayesha Dharker Taylor

Poem introduction

Sometimes you hear a phrase and hear it again and again and it sticks in your head. This is what happened to me when I heard the same phrase on television and in news reports, and it's a phrase that seems to have stuck in the throat of the English language.

Speech balloon

Speech balloon

The Liverpool boss was pretty chuffed with himself,
said the news report, for being so tough
when he decided to snub the obvious choice
and go instead for the goal machine.
'I'm over the moon,' they said he said.
'I'm over the moon,' he said.

The Barnsley manager was lost for words
to describe his feelings when Chelsea fell
to the Tykes. 'We played fantastic.
I never thought we'd do it again
but we did, we did, and all I can say is
I'm over the moon,' they said he said.
'I’m over the moon,' he said.

The Hollywood mum was way beyond thrilled
according to friends, when she delivered
into the world, not one bouncing baby
but twins instead to the astonished dad.
'I'm over the moon,' they said she said.
'I'm over the moon,' she said.

Bollywood's hottest couple was proud to be blessed
by the jubilant father, the superstar.
'It's a match made in heaven,' he said to the press,
'Between two shooting stars with shining careers
and I'm over the moon, of course,' he said.
'I’m over the moon,' he said.

The Malaysian nation went mad with joy
on independence day in its fiftieth year
when a doctor-cum-part-time-model,
a local boy, went up into space in a Russian Soyuz,
and in zero gravity performed his namaz.
'All of Malaysia over the moon,' they said on the news,
'Twenty-seven million people over the moon.'

You must have noticed, it's really quite clear,
this condition has spread, it's happening there,
it's happening here. It's full-blown, grown
beyond every border, to the furthest corner
of every country where English is spoken
or English is known.

There's no-one just satisfied or mildly pleased
or chipper or chirpy, contented or cheerful,
no-one glad or gratified, delighted or jubilant,
elated, ecstatic, joyful or gleeful.
All the happy people have left this world.
You won't come across them any time soon

and if it's happy sound-bytes you're looking for
you need to look way over your head
for the words in balloons

to the place where the cow keeps jumping
over and over
with all the footballers, team managers
and lottery winners, world superstars,
heroes and champions and legends and lovers
and proud mums and dads

and the whole of Malaysia
over the moon
over the moon
over the over the over the moon.


uncollected poem, © Imtiaz Dharker 2010, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books.

Recordings

Imtiaz Dharker reading from her poems

1Speech Balloon

2Purdah

3The Haunted House

4The Child Sings

5Postcards from god I

6Postcards from god II

7Scaffolding

8Question 1 / Question 2

9Eggplant

10Living Space / One Breath

11Blessing

12This room

13Honour killing

14The right word

15Kinna sona

16A place called Battle

17How to cut a pomegranate

18Women bathing

19Tow-Path

20Spire

21Leaving fingerprints

22Contract

23Hand of Fatima, Hand of Miriam

24Eye

25Whoever you are

26Talisman / CCTV

27The temporary face

28Dabba's dialogue <i>or</i> Tiffin-box talks

29What she said / what she said later

30What the palm reader said then

31What they think she said

32They'll say, 'She must be from another country.'

Books & cds by Imtiaz Dharker