Thursday, June 21, 2018

W.H. Auden, "Epitaph on a Tyrant"

Epitaph on a Tyrant

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.


W.H. Auden is a favorite Modernist, but his work is often impenetrable. Besides this, I do like another popular poem of his, "Musee des Beaux Arts."
Auden lived in Berlin during the 1930s, and this poem was published in 1939. As Trump leads us into a New Outer Darkness-- or attempts to do so-- this piece gains new relevance (O that 1960s buzzword!) and credence.
I had hesitated to post it before the Refugee Children Separation Crisis, since the last line was not yet applicable, but I believe it is, now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Trump is Postponing the Picnic: An Observation on the Current Situation


Trump is Postponing the Picnic

By David Hartley Mark

                              The sunshine is bright o’er the Potomac,
                              A light summer breezes ruffs his hair—
                              There was supposed to be a Congressional Picnic,
                              But the Congressmen will not be there.

                              It’s broiling hot in “tender shelters,”
                              The babies all wait to be fed;
                              Their mommies and daddies imprisoned,
                              No doubt wishing that they were dead.

                              Trump currently holds children hostage,
                              He’ll expel all their sad parents soon;
                              He might have had hot dogs for picnic,
                              And he might as well live on the moon

                              Does his brain’s frontal lobe ever function?
                              Does he lack any real moral sense?
                              Is he merely a suit with a skull on’t,
                              And his humanness just a pretense?

                              Please pack up the Liberty Statue,
                              And ship it most quickly to France:
                              We’re no longer a “Light to the Nations,”
                              And Trump cannot button his pants

                              So’s to meet with Republican Leaders,
                              Like Ryan, McConnell, and Co.;
                              He mocks them ‘bout losing elections,
                              In his meetings, the bulls**t will flow

                              While the mothers all languish in Texas,
                              Their babies are shipped to the East;
                              Trump still cannot wait for the picnic,
                              It will be such a gourmandish feast!

                              When his Party suggests that he free them,
                              Trump swiftly flies into a rage:
                              “My country a migrant camp is not—
                              “Ha! Throw them all into a cage!”

                              As the sun sets, Trump speaks of “deterrence,”
                              The babes have all cried selves to sleep—
                              Trump, too, will retire for night soon,
                              All innocent, he’ll slumber most deep.

                             

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Vampire Lover: A Poem


The Vampire Lover

By David Hartley Mark

                           When we met, it was night,
                                                                        Dracursula,
                           You wore a gown of lawn;
                           You dazzled me with your golden eyes
                           And begged me to linger ‘til dawn.

                           We walked in the woods,
                                                                        Dracursula,
                           And I might have lost my way,
                           But for your gleaming, auric eyen
                           That ne’er see the light of day.

                           We wandered over hill and plain,
                                                                        Dracursula,
                           But I never tired out;
                           My feet, they never touched the ground,
                           As we soared and dove about.

                           The sun began to finally rise,
                                                                        Dracursula,
                           And I stared at it with a wild surmise,
                           But you scowled at it and then at me,
                           And I knew the time had come to flee.

                           “One more kiss, Dear One,” you smiled at me,
                                                                        Dracursula,
                           And I could not but just agree,
                           As you ran your tongue up-and-down my throat,
                           And our night concluded on a bloody note,
                                                                        Dracursula!
                                            

Monday, June 18, 2018

"I Rule As I Wish," said the Donald. A Poem (after E.B. White)


I Rule As I Wish

By David Hartley Mark

(After E.B. White)

                  “How do you rule, if you’re ruling us all?”
                  Asked the hapless American Voter.
                  “Do you beat your enemies ‘til they crawl?
                  “Do you imagine Mueller in his burial pall?
                  “Or Michael Cohen’s evidence, in his scrawl?”

                  “I rule as I like,” said the Donald.

                  “How do you speak, when you speak to your base?”
                  Asked the hapless American voter.
                  “Do you wave your hat, and MAGA them?
                  “When your speech is writ, do you haw and hem?
                  “Do you claim to’ve been born in Bethlehem?”

                  “I lie as I like,” said the Donald.

                  “How do you deal with Republicans?”
                  Asked the frightened American Voter.
                  “Does cooperation rule your mind,
                  “Or do you just scream something unkind?
                  “You’ve placed your Party in a terrible bind—“

                  “I scream when I wish,” said the Donald.

                  “Does the Investigation give you some doubt?”
                  Asked the reassured American Voter.
                  “Will you pardon yourself, to give you an Out?
                  “Do you consider Paul Ryan a Big Sellout?
                  “Do you hope Jeff Sessions will just walk out?”

                  “I rule by myself,” said the Donald.

                  “I rule by myself, the Country is mine,
                  “I scream when I wish,” said the Donald,
                  “And the thing that I like is the thing that is Me,
                  “As a person devoid of Integrity;
                 
“However…
                  “I’ll haul down the Good Old Stars and Stripes
                  “And rule this Great Land with all stereotypes;
                  “If Nazis or Klan prefer to parade,
                  “They won’t find I object or that I’m dismayed;
                  “Since bigots will vote in a virtual cascade,
                  “But I, only I, am important.”

                  “I fear you and loathe you in equal parts,”
                  Said the Courageous American Voter,
                  “And, though I am stuck with you and it smarts,
                  “Eventually the Electorate is the one that outsmarts,
                  “And your ugly, mean deeds it eventually thwarts,
                  “Democracy will glow ever-brighter.”

                  “We’ll see if it does,” says the Donald.