POEM FOR THE YEAR
(with apologies to W. H. Auden)
This earth in 2023
Is not the planet fit for me,
A world, I need, to give me hope
Opposed to the end of a rope.
My Eden landscapes and their climes
Are great constructs from rational times,
When reason meant, at least, induction,
Not dogma posed as deduction.
The plastic bags we gather to be
Transformed as if by alchemy:
I chose to send them whence they came,
The ground, from fossil fuels by name.
I’m now required to approve
Blighted wind farms that rarely move:
And even less reverence-commanding
Endless seas, useless notwithstanding.
Ghosts that I thought had been routed,
Their spent ideas revealed and doubted:
Ridiculousness now forgotten,
None knowing all is misbegotten.
Before the injustice of the blind,
It was important to be kind:
Lives in the dread realm of the Me.
“Nineteen Eighty-Four” we knew,
“The Trial,” “Waste Land”, “Animal Farm” too:
I cannot settle which is worse,
The modern novel, or free verse.
When couples played or sang duets,
Unwise the man immersed in debts
Or the nation well beyond its means,
Its souls now reduced to pork and beans.
Do we venerate, as a joint success
The silencing to which we acquiesce:
Thugs piling-on, and gleefully;
When did we scare so easily?
Hobgoblins abound; we do abide,
Yet we turn and we run and hide:
In the wake of the mightiest shout
Coming from the silliest lout.
How this world does clack its tongue,
How listlessly it strikes the young:
How can they hope to ever live free
When blinkered in its history?
The recent plague has made us fools
And given birth to glaikit rules:
Although it let us seek anew
Amongst our friends, those who proved true.
An old curmudgeon? I may be,
But remain of the citizenry:
In Stoicism I will base my trust,
And follow Zeno, as needs must.