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Tuesday, January 07, 2020


by Jan D. Hodge

Faith leaders pray with President Donald Trump during a rally for evangelical supporters at the King Jesus International Ministry church, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Impresario rose for the vacuous ritual discharge of pomp
      In that dismal political swamp,
Insulting and faulting those who dared to oppose him
      (Sneering and jeering at them),
Meeting their protests with humbug and shrugs
Amid the capuchin clicking and whining
Of cameras, his answers were dreary as verses on Stalin,
Then echoed in turn by a toadying chorus of dim-
Witted grim apparatchiks routinely intoning:
O leader of peoples, our nation spearheading,
Great One, our Sun, applauded by millions of hearts
      (Chanting in classical metres).
Like Vergil recited from packets of cue cards, they
Hailed and regaled him.  Not one of the thugs
Had conscience or courage enough to consider resigning
               . . . Preferring fine dining!

Author’s note: The situation, alas, is all too recognizable.  For those not familiar with the model for this verse, I refer you to Edith Sitwell’s “Sir Beelzebub.”  (My title, incidentally, is an anagram of "Edith Sitwell.")
     To explain the allusion to verses on Stalin, consider these lines by A. O. Avdienko:
           When the woman I love presents me with a child
           the first word it shall utter will be: Stalin. . . .
           O great Stalin, O leader of the peoples,
           Thou who broughtest man to birth . . .
           Thou who makest bloom the spring,
           Thou who makest vibrate the musical chords . . .
           Thou, splendour of my spring, O thou,
           Sun reflected by millions of hearts.

Jan D. Hodge's poems have appeared in many print and online journals. Two of his books, Taking Shape (a collection of carmina figurata) and The Bard & Scheherazade Keep Company (double-dactyl renderings of Shakespeare, tales from the Arabian Nights, and Reynard the Fox) have been published by Able Muse Press.