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A Vacancy No-one Can Fill

I’ve reached the stage, at my tender age,
where I’ve learnt a thing or two.
I’ve encountered the best, the worst and the rest,
and I’ve worked out who is who.
There are those that amaze me, while some try to faze me,
and others just pass me by.
I hardly need mention you caught my attention,
and didn’t have to try.


You’ve earned bouquets and received lots of praise
for work that you’ve done well.
Your time with QinetiQ has been quite frenetic,
and leaves us with tales to tell:
Proposal submissions, or terms and conditions,
you laboured so long to get right;
Commercial relations with various nations
where you were the leading light.


Achieving so much with a lightness of touch
that belies a core of steel,
Your customers smile as all the while
you secure that killer deal.
But now it would seem your Australian dream
is about to have its day.
The Melbourne boys will be making a noise
when they see who’s on the way.


Imagine a list of why you’ll be missed,
it would pack a page or three.
Suffice to say that when you go away,
so far beyond the sea,
We’re going to find you’ve left behind
a vacancy no-one can fill.
No doubt we’ll get by, or we’ll give it a try,
but we might need a whisky still.


Now perhaps I should, and I would if I could,
come to terms with this unwelcome news.
It’s the future you’ve spied on the world’s other side
in the land of the kangaroos.
Like the best of recruits, you’ll soon put down roots
as you camp by that billabong,
So goodbye, toodeloo, farewell and adieu,
au revoir, adios, so long.




What did you say? You’re having to stay?
Arrangements have fallen apart.
After planning anew there was no place for you
in their organisation chart.
A part of me’s sad while another is mad
and it feels like a breach of trust.
You had contracts agreed, but with unseemly speed
they turned your plans to dust.


Every week, every day, best laid schemes gang agley,
though it often can be for the best.
To be disrespected where welcome’s expected
would surely have caused unrest.
You’ve got your ambition, now reshape your vision,
new chances will soon come through,
And that vacant post, which concerned us the most,
will still be filled by you.


July 2012
This was written for a colleague who was leaving to take up a post in Australia. The first five verses are the poem which was to be pasted into the farewell card. Just before the departure date the plug was pulled and the transfer didn't take place. The further two verses were added to reflect the surprise and reaction to this. See I Said Goodbye Already Before for what happened next.
In this poem I have again attempted to use the Robert W Service style seen in The Cremation of Sam McGee.
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