Butt, M. 2011. Complainsong. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. 24 (5), pp. 674-675.
AuthorsButt, M.

Purpose – This poem was written as a protest after I had been told that my staff team complained too much. I wanted to reflect the positive qualities of complaining.
Design/methodology/approach – Complainsong is written in ballad form – in quatrains of loose iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, with a refrain or chorus. It has the narrative quality of a ballad, but with unusual direction. As it developed, I realised I had in my mind Pastor Martin Niemoller's Second World War poem which begins “First they came for the Jews.”
Findings – The rather jolly ballad rhythm sets up expectations of a humorous poem, which is undermined by the very serious “message” of the ending. The nonsensical images of doormats blowing whistles and sheep rocking boats in the chorus, take familiar phrases to create tongue in cheek humour that heightens the contrast with the final stanza.
Originality/value – This poem uses an unexpected form to come to a “twist in the tale” ending that, hopefully, is strengthened by the surprise. The title is a play on the “plainsong” of monks and complaining.

KeywordsAppeasement; complaints; poetry; whistle blowing
Research GroupEnglish Language and Literature
JournalAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Publication dates
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Aug 2013
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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