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

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

Imtiaz Dharker in the Poetry Store

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