Thursday 19 November 2020

The Hollow Persons (With Apologies To T.S. Eliot)


     Let’s do this
     Let’s keep moving


We are the hollow persons
Inflated with hot air
Hanging together
For fear of hanging separately. Cut!
Our empty promises, when
First we make them,
Are far from empty.
We are inflamed by the thrill
Of passionate sounds,
Like Boomers watching porn,
Mistaking the image for the deed.

Policy without intention, sincerity without truth,
Activity without consequence, politics without effect.

Those who have moved on
From office to retirement, that powerless state,
Understand us best – see us clearly – not as lost
Treacherous souls, but only
As the hollow persons
Inflated with hot air.


Eyes I dare not meet in studios
Or the Green Room
Thankfully do not appear:
There, all eyes blaze
Like television lights
There, lips curl cruelly,
And nostrils flare
In eager anticipation of
A broken political career.

I will not go again
To that dream factory
I’ll wear no more
The deliberate disguises of
Commentator, pundit, expert
In my field
Holding up a finger to discover
The prevailing political wind.

No more fulsome greetings
In the shallow money trench.


It is a wavering realm
Guided by autocues
Raising statues of flesh
To receive each morning
The offering of last night’s ratings
Restoring a twinkle to fading stars.
   It is not like this
Outside the make-up room
Abiding alone
In those hours when
The camera’s tenderness
Is removed
And all earpieces fall silent.


There are no eyes here
No prying eyes
In this valley of abandoned dreams
This valley of hollow victories
Strewn with the broken bones of promises

   In this place of suspended hope
We cling to one another
Avoid commitment
Try to swallow the crumbs of official praise.

Paralysed, unless,
From somewhere,
A choir of cast-off heroes,
Voices from history,
Sing solidarity songs
To gather-in our lost flock
Of empty persons.


This is the way we wash our hands
Wash our hands, wash our hands,
This is the way we wash our hands
Of everything left in the morning

  Between the Caucus
And the Treasury
Between the promise
And the press-release
Falls the shadow

               For this is the Empire of Neo-liberalism

  Between the Mosque Massacre
And KiwiBuild
Between the stamping out of Covid-19
And the ending of child poverty
Falls the shadow

               It’s only a three year term

  Between the Politics of Kindness
And the MSD counter
Between the promise of transformation
And maintaining business confidence
Between the loyal working-class
And the fickle middle-class
Falls the shadow

               For this is the Empire of Neo-Liberalism

For this is
Only a three year term

This is the way Jacinda ends
This is the way Jacinda ends
This is the way Jacinda ends
Not with a pang but a simper.

Chris Trotter

This poetic parody was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Thursday, 19 November 2020.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

Yup, just like it says here.

Andrew Nichols said...

Excellent. The Ardern Govt and Bidens should get on fine. Both have been elected on feel good (not Trump Not Collins...Covid) ..and will leave no enduring legacy.

sumsuch said...

May I for one moment pop up on your Right. All my thoughts come out of the back of my 'heed' -- why I quit journalistic accuacy (before they could refuse me). Travelling on an Intercity bus today, I saw NZers don't do politics direct these days so even if Jacinda tried to persuade for once she'd have a small audience.

But I also saw the 'art of the possible' also includes the word 'art'.

Kip m said...

Very eloquent, Chris, and bang on target. It'll go straight over their heads, of course.

sumsuch said...

Why do we have to put up with these people for ever? Well, Jim, it's ever been so.

But now it's a strange woman and her friend. Ruling for 'all NZers'. And she can't see the hypocrisy or, more likely, is willing to put up with it for some longer goal. No more longer goals achieved by short term shit.

Grant and Jacinda, in the bins. After them, fascism.

I have to admit the moderacy of Key and now Jacinda aint much use.