Scottish Widows Poems

For more than a year I worked at the pensions and investment company Scottish Widows, as a temp. The work was not terribly interesting, but it has inspired the following poems.

Alas, to fully appreciate them you probably need to work in the Commission Support department of a large investment company, but perhaps they have some appeal for a wider audience...

The Blind Man

They built the floors up long ago
To fit new cables there
(When it was laid, they couldn't know
They'd need this extra layer).

I guess they didn't think it through;
They trapped the windows shut –
And blinds inside the windows, too,
All stuck inside a rut.

The view of Arthur's Seat was hid,
The sun forever barred;
To undo what the builders did
Was felt to be too hard.

So by and by a decade passed
With blinds still fixed in place.
This industry is never fast:
It moves at glacial pace.

Yet even in insurance terms,
Those blinds were slow to shift.
They've seen the deaths of many firms,
Seen markets ebb and drift.

Six hundred million people died,
A billion more were born:
While here the blinds stayed, stuck inside,
Four thousand new days dawned.

But now at last the Blind Man's due
To set the blinds here free;
Do anything he has to do
To help us all to see:

To look upon the world outside,
The joys that it might hold;
The gorse and trees and mountainside
Beyond this goldfish bowl.


He fixed the blinds! They're free to move!
That doesn't mean they do.
The boss, it seems, would not approve
For someone might see through.

I Seek The OB Liability

I am on a quest.
Scouring through hundreds of pages of policies,
I seek The OB Liability.
Like a haggis hunter out in the Highlands
I try to keep faith
That my prey must be out there, somewhere.
I pray that I will know it when I see it:
That I'll not let it slip past my watchful gaze
Like a heffalump hiding behind a tree.
I have been on my mission for months now.
Hundreds of times in dozens of transfers
I have thought that I caught me a glimpse,
Like a flash of a unicorn's horn through a forest
Which, when you come close,
Shows itself to be merely a gleam from a stream:
Annuity payments and other such things
Make me think for a time that my quest's not for naught
But look closer, they're more airy nothings.


Dear Sir

Dear Sir,
    a letter from Personal Touch
Has arrived, but I cannot do anything much
For they ask us to transfer Fred Miller away
From yourselves and to them, but you don't seem to say
Whether we can do anything, though it's implied
That we should, we prefer to stay on the safe side
And only transfer things if it is made clear
By both parties we should, and that's not the case here.
Furthermore, headed stationery hasn't been used
And we ask for that too, lest our system's abused.
Besides which, the letter from you isn't signed
And it must be, a protocol which is designed
To ensure your security — how can we know
Who you are if you don't sign it? Oh! What a blow
It would be if we did it, but later found out
We were wrong to ignore that wee, niggling doubt
That you were who they said. I would sooner be dead
Than transfer someone's business on fraudulent grounds.
So forgive me if I leave Fred waiting around
While I hold for a signed letter, with letterhead.
Thank you kindly, Tom Tucker, for taking the time
To provide this, and don't feel obliged to use rhyme
When replying. And sir, you must not hesitate
To ask questions in writing; I will not berate
You for seeking more answers.

Yours faithfully,

Scottish Widows employee
Ray Murray, F.C.

(names changed to protect confidentiality agreements)

Transfer Thief

Somebody's stolen my transfer.
I had it right here in my box.
Destini Applewood, exiting Sesame.
Many an agency.
Where did they go?
Who's violated my drawer?
I might start to lock it, and take home the key.
I don't want strange hands in my papers and tea
And I don't like my transfers just walking away.
If somebody wants them, why don't they just say?
They can take them, it's fine, I would just like to know,
'stead of sitting here thinking 'When, where did it go?'

Oh, hang on... I sent it to Credit Control.

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