Look inside my cache
Follow what I’m typing
Make my inbox crash
Record me when I’m skyping
Eat my algorithms neat
Hack my iPhone, it’s my treat
Store up every text
Empty all my spam
Have my dossier sexed
Know me as I am
Track my messages on Twitter
Run your fingers through my litter
Yes, I beg you, please
Store my cyber-chatter
When I stroke my keys
Tape my private matter
It’s only fair, GCHQ
Because of course I’m watching you
from The Witnesses (after Auden)
You are the drivers, and we are the flash,
We are the clampers collecting the cash
At the gates, and on the roof,
When you pause, or are on the hoof,
we see where you go.
On every Saturday or Friday
We will ask you for your ID:
Every move you make, and every look.
In every cranny and every nook
there is no escape.
Fill in a form, fill out your CV,
And still you’ll be on our CCTV
Do not act in a suspicious manner –
Even Dodi Fayeed and Diana
came through our doors.
Never mind policemen, or your polemic,
For we are ceaseless, and we are an endemic
Your blood is banked, your carbon print,
In the passport booth, neither smile nor squint,
till we have your iris.
Asylum seeker or refugee,
When you arrive, be assured that we
We know your age, your skin, your size,
If you have distinctive Mongolian eyes,
then we will shoot you.
The second was first published in December 2006 in The Independent, just before Auden’s centenary. I used the last line (relating to Jean Charles de Menezes) in another poem, which is in Ringers. You can read the whole Independent series here