Friday 27 November 2020

The Second Term (With Apologies To William Butler Yeats)

Yearning and yearning for a comforting liar
The people will not hear the truth, nor trust the truth-teller;
Stories fall apart, the centre is not real;
Mere dull geometry to gull a duller world.
Our poll-driven narrative is loosed, but everywhere
The target audience refuses to be wowed.
The best shun social-media, while the worst
Still tweet with manic imbecility.

Surely some course-correction is in hand?
Surely it’s time to take our Second Term in hand!
Our Second Term! Hardly are those words out
Than grainy video-clips, recorded in the Eighties,
Download to my device. Images of conferences past;
A shape with Jim Anderton’s body and Matt McCarten’s head;
A gaze blank and pitiless as Tova O’Brien’s
Is holding a media conference, while all around it
Reel journos of the indignant Fourth Estate.
The cellphone screen goes blank; but now I know
That declaring “They are Us”
And stamping out the coronavirus
Were just the first rough drafts of an historical drama
Still struggling with its author to be born.

Chris Trotter

This poetic parody was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 27 November 2020.


Odysseus said...

"and what rough beast.... slouches towards Bethlehem to be born"? No, nothing so portentous. The sixth labour Government instead takes its cue from Horace: "parturiunt montes nascetur ridiculus mus" ("the mountains are in labour, an absurd mouse will be born").

Some excellent lines Chris, you are clearly a poet manque.

Brendan McNeill said...

Yeats does encapsulate our times in the original text of his poem with the following lines:

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

Guerilla Surgeon said...

“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on "I am not too sure.”
― H.L. Mencken

John Hurley said...


Relating to or supporting the political interests of a particular racial, ethnic, or national group, typically one composed of Europeans or white people.

and another Savings Working Group type verdict on immigration policy which the media are hushing. Like a small craft on the harbour with an oil tanker bearing down.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Harold.

A very interesting rant, Harold, thank-you.

I will keep my eye on the case.