The day the world stopped turning,
    a different sort of silence descended from the skies.
    No one bothered to watch the telly
    although the event was covered live.
    In some ways it was an ordinary day just like any other,
    except traffic wardens were joyriding
    and no one gave a toss about the property ladder.
    And as we waited for death
    without a word of protest,
    the London and New York stock exchanges
    became temples of tranquillity.
    Suicide rates were remarkably low
    but very few pubs were empty.
    People started smoking again
    and forgot about their diets.
    Vegetarians pigged out on bacon
    and Cliff Richard popped his cherry.
    No one manned the call centres
    except a couple of under managers.
    Meteorologists forecast a long dark winter
    and there was no morning rush hour.
    No technology was upgraded
    and no one went to war.
    People shared their innermost secrets
    but no one gossiped anymore;
    and although we collectively lost our pride
    many found a vestige of self respect.
    No language in the world could do it justice,
    although Ant and Dec did their best,
    and we searched for that balance between spirituality and sin,
    while Piers Morgan found a way to make it all about him.
    The arse dropped out of organised crime
    and the prisons opened early
    and while yuppies locked themselves indoors
    and took solace from Paul McCartney,
    everyone went on TikTok and left eulogies to each other,
    while Vladimir Putin sat alone in his office
    and thought about his mother.
    The gun lobby felt powerless,
    but survivalists were delighted.
    People with dementia forgot they were going to die
    and had to be constantly reminded.

    The paparazzi deserted celebrities
    and left them feeling lonely.
    Politicians everywhere admitted they were lying
    and then went home to spend time with their families.
    The UN found itself helpless again,
    but neighbours became friends,
    and the advertising industry was racking its brains
    right until the very end,
    but nothing was for sale because nothing was worth buying
    and you can’t put spin on a world that isn’t turning.
    Everyone’s debts were cancelled
    and lifestyle became redundant;
    sceptics prayed frantically to save their souls,
    and the tabloids became indignant,
    and launched a last minute campaign
    to find someone to blame,
    whilst trying not to feel upset
    about a blue green planet swollen with regret,
    people flocked to see one last sunset,
    but the sunset never came.
    No one had any illusion of redemption or survival,
    and for all the talk of sexual abandon,
    all most folk wanted was one last cuddle.
    Long lost lovers were reunited
    but became distracted in their thinking,
    and God breathed a tremendous sigh of relief
    on the day the world stopped turning.
    And when it came,
    it was like a warm breeze blowing through knackered old bones
    that swallowed your soul.
    The sky came down and the sun shone brighter
    as we took a deep breath and slid back beneath the water.
    In a way it felt like a privilege to be there at the end
    and maybe one day we’ll do it all over again;
    but if anyone ever hears about this they might benefit from learning
    that we lived our lives more than ever before
    on the day the world stopped turning.
    Rob Gee