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Why don’t people whistle anymore?
My dad used to embarrass me
With his whistling constantly,
That came in his brain,
And he could go on for hours
And even though he embarrassed me
With his whistling constantly
I have some veneration
For my father’s generation
And it’s ability to whistle
Like the thrush they call the missle;
They could do it at the drop of a hat,
Whether standing, sleeping, sitting or sat,
But now you only whistle free
If you are a referee,
But why don’t people whistle anymore?
It’s not as though they’ve passed a law
Making it a criminal offence
To disturb the silence whence
Some dictatorial attack
Like some Criminal Whistling Act.
So why don’t people whistle anymore?
If the answer’s not criminological,
Perhaps it’s sociological,
For it is not the case today,
And please listen, don’t go away,
Today there is less silence to break,
Less listless boredom to shake,
With Muzak attacking our heads
And radio alarms invading our beds;
Or is it because there’s just less waiting around,
Less staring aimlessly at the ground,
Less waiting for things to happen,
Like waiting for a train
Or sheltering from the rain,
And doing it in Public,
But feeling alone,
In your private space,
But in our private world today,
You get in a car and straight away
You turn on your tape, radio or C.D.,
Get home and switch on the T.V.,
And there’s less private space in public today,
And that I’m sorry for to say
Is why people don’t whistle anymore,
But we’re going to even up the score,
But before I whistle oh so glad,
There’s just one more thing that I should add,
One item more for the agenda
Yes, perhaps we should look at Gender.
Why didn’t women whistle?
To Housewives’ Choice, pushing the Bex Bissell?
I never saw a woman whistle,
Whether dissolute or Catholic with a missal;
But now let’s put the horse behind the cart,
When in the past did whistling first start?
When was it first mentioned in literature?
Who was that first whistling creature,
Whistling a line
In prose, poem or rhyme,
In high pitch, medium or low,
Was it Shakespeare, Swift or Defoe?
But enough of ages gone by,
We should all whistle now, let us try,
And we’ll bring social whistling back
And get it back on the right track;
‘Whistle while you work
You needn’t feel a burke”
When feeling alone in public,
And musically expressing it,
With some furtive melody,
Someone else will join in, just you see,
And the you create harmony
And you reverse the 2nd law of Thermodynamics
With your whistling oscular aerodynamics;
“Strangers in the night
No longer tuned into
It’s the end of Angst, as we know it,
And was it not Whistler, the painter and poet,
Who wrote plainly, in prose, not in rune,
That when you whistle a happy tune
You whistle and the whole world whistles with you,
But when you don’t whistle,
You don’t whistle,
© Stuart Butler
An old Poetry Slam poem I’d forgotten about – but, why don’t people whistle anymore?