Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Poetic satire: The Universal Moderate

The Universal Moderate by Kevin Higgins

after Buffy Sainte-Marie

This poem is dedicated to all candidates of the “centre-left” and “centre-right” in the Irish General Election and to all supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton

Over wishy-washy tea in the office canteen,
or when you’re condemned to sit beside him
at the after party of a funeral,
the unsub speaks his principles
like he’s eight foot one;
but is back down to his usual
one foot eight when
the vote on anything’s taken.

Though he says so himself,
it took monumental bravery
for a man of his measurements
to come loudly out in favour of
homosexual marriage the day after
it was legalised everywhere.​

He’s taking at face value what the Director of the CIA
told Congress yesterday. He’s arguing in favour
of the First World War. On balance, he’s for
his country and China continuing to mutually
pleasure each other; of selling more
helicopters to Saudi Arabia. He’s too busy
giving King Leopold of Belgium’s efforts
to civilise the Congo another second chance
to indulge your wild theories.

Be it the proposal to limit the right of landowners
to gun down vagrants wandering
onto their property; the suggested legislation
to make mandatory the rescue by their employers
of children wedged up chimneys;
or the phasing out of compulsory
female circumcision; he’s in favour of everything
when the circumstances permit
and all bar Sir Rhodes Boyson’s corpse concur.

He’s the Universal Moderate,
forever holding up the bit between
those who want to slaughter six million
and those who “unrealistically refuse to consider”
killing even one.

KEVIN HIGGINS is The Bogmans Cannon Satirist-in-Residence

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