Tag Archives: satirical verse

Should Writers Be Political?

A little while back I came across a post entitled “Are Writers Allowed To Express Political Opinions”, https://ryanlanz.com/2017/12/01/are-writers-allowed-to-express-political-opinions/. Before proceeding further, I would like to make it clear that in a free society writers (along with the rest of the population) have an absolute right to voice their views. I have always voted and will continue to do so as to complain and not to vote is, in my view at best risible and at worst smacks of hypocrisy. However the point of this post is to examine whether it is wise for writers to express political opinions.

I recall attending a poetry reading, during the course of which one of the performers regaled the audience with a poem lauding the virtues of a former British prime minister. As a point of information, my view of the PM in question is that their period in office saw both positive and negative measures taken by the administrations in question. However the poem’s uncritical lauding of the politician and its blatant political purpose made me squirm. I suspect that I was far from being alone in my feeling of relief when this piece of propaganda was at an end.

Political poetry need not, however have one squirming in one’s seat. Take, for example the 17th-century “Vicar of Bray which begins thus:

“1. In good King Charles’ golden time, when loyalty no harm meant,
A zealous high churchman was I, and so I gained preferment.
To teach my flock, I never missed: Kings are by God appointed
And damned are those who dare resist or touch the Lord’s annointed.

(Chorus):

And this be law, that I’ll maintain until my dying day, sir
That whatsoever king may reign, Still I’ll be the Vicar of Bray, sir. …”. (http://www.britainexpress.com/attraction-articles.htm?article=29).

In the above poem, we are treated to a wonderful description of a vicar who will change his principles in whatever way will advance his survival in the living of Bray. The man has no loyalty whatsoever other than to himself. The poem manages to be both bitingly funny and to attack political opportunism at the same time.

One does not, in my view need to agree with the sentiments being expressed to find poetry that expresses political views interesting and/or amusing. Take, for example Hilaire Belloc’s “On A Great Election”:

“The accursed power which stands on privilege
(And goes with women, and champagne, and bridge)
Broke—and democracy resumed her reign
(Which goes with bridge, and women, and champagne)”.

Although I think that Belloc’s view is overly cynical, his poem does, none the less strike a chord with me and brings a smile to my face, which is a key factor in any good poem (that it resonates with the reader).

As for my own work, anyone who reads my poetry will, I believe gain a view as regards my political outlook. Be wary though my dear reader for my tongue is sometimes firmly implanted in my cheek!

In conclusion, writers do, of course have a perfect right to express political views. However few people like a didact and much of the best political poetry contains an element of satire. Orwell’s “Animal Farm, Animal Farm, never through me shall you come to harm” causes the reader to wince and is intended to do so, for Orwell is satirising the sloganeering of the Communist left. Orwell’s quote is, in my opinion far superior to the poem regarding a former British Prime Minister, which I was forced to sit through during a poetry reading some time ago.

Kevin

Said Hooray Henry to Henrietta

Said Hooray Henry to Henrietta
“Did you receive my love letter?
It was written in latin and greek
For I can speak
Both as you can see.
I have a first class degree
From Oxford. Oh do say that you will join me on the Charwell
For who can tell
What may happen, as we punt along
Singing a boating song”.

Said Henrietta,
“I did receive your love letter.
I too can speak
Latin and greek.
But my dear
I fear
That I have been untrue
To you,
With the gamekeeper Foil.
He may be a hoary old man of toil,
But he’s a dab hand with the massage oil …

I met a Maid

I met a maid.
Staid
And proper was she,
Who said unto me,
“I love thee.
Let us make free,
But not too much so
For a girl must go
To the marketplace,
Where she will embrace
The latest fashion,
For it is her passion
To please her man.
Therefore can
You take care of me
And you will see
Just how much I love thee …!”

I said, “Oh maid,
Most staid
And proper.
I thank you for your generous offer,
But I regret my coffer
Can not maintain a professional shopper.
Be not sad
For you may find some other lad
Mad
Enough to grant your dearest wish.
Go forth and angle
And you will no doubt entangle
Some other happless fish!”

Family Life

The hoary

old Tory

finds glory

in the upper house.

his socialist spouse

drinks champagne

and cudgels her brains

about the renationalisation of trains.

Their Communist girl

Her head in an idealistic whirl

Buys expensive clothes

For she knows

That money on ancient trees grows.

And so the world goes!

 

 

A Poet To A Young Maiden And The Girl’s Reply

“Let us pile high the fire my dear.

Come you near

and warm the cockles of your heart.

Let us practice love’s art.

Draw closer and sit upon my knee.

Let us make free

like the amorous swan

for time rolls on

and desire, ‘tis soon gone.

 

“Sir

My mother warned me to beware

Of poets who pretty verses spin

Lest they lead me into sin.

Good night to you noble sir

I must be off and wash my hair”.

Love’s Young Dream

Her feet beat

To the music of the street.

Perfume sweet,

Makes him weak.

He would die,

For one look from those azure eyes.

Oh for a taste of those ruby red lips,

His heart skips,

As her fingers she slips,

Into his hand.

Breathlessly he waits for her command,

“I needs some grub.

Lets go to pub.

Bloke pays”.

She says,

Employing her feminine ways!

A Gentleman Suitor To His Beloved

A Gentleman Suitor To His Beloved

 

 

 

“My darling, let us sit down upon the grass.

Though the firmament fall, my love for thee tis sure to last.

Other men may betray, but my heart is steadfast.

Let us be quick my sweet, for I must dash”.

 

 

The Lady’s Response To Her Suitor

 

 

“Sweetheart, the ground is wet and cold,

To recline upon it would quite ruin my clothes.

The heavens show no sign of falling,

Besides, I hear mama calling”.