Saturday, 1 November 2014

Poem: After Woolf

They’ll be scouring the country for another peer

who they can pretend is uncontaminated

hoping that people betrayed and humiliated

will be cowed and passive before power,

will accept the assurances of grandees

schooled since birth in the art of domination.

Panic is spreading. For one brief moment

the suits and robes look tattered,

the velvet curtain has parted, we have sight

of the cogs and wheels which hold our rulers

aloft, seemingly forever triumphant.

Before it closes and they reappear glossed

and strident, let’s hold that picture in our heads

for when they order us to have less

while they take more, when they take what’s ours

and give to those who already have.

They are only what they are: people pumped up

by pumped-up people; people paraded before us

as wiser or cleverer or worthier than us.

They are none of these things. They are just people

who hope that we are too tired or too afraid to

get rid of them.