The Patriots, by George Szirtes

An essay in Audenesque

When patriots go bawling in the street
Cursing and threatening as is their wont,
When politicians strut and yell and bleat
And right wing rags scream in their largest font,
When you can hear the thugs mutter and blag
Gathering below the nation’s flag,
You know you’ve heard it once before
Or twice or three times, maybe more,
It’s history kids, you know the score.

You know the score
You know the score
You go to bed and lock the door
And wait for them to bawl for more.

When roars of Traitor, Pirate, Foreign Scum,
Rise from the throats of educated toffs
Who feed the mob with the odd tasty crumb
So one man hungers while another scoffs,
When rhetoric is pitched ready for war
And lynching is demanded by the poor,
When nationhood comes down to race
Your nose cut off to spite your face
So that pure hatred fills the place.

You’ll know your place
You’ll know your place
To leave, to leave, without a trace
Hounded, expelled, and in disgrace.

We Pity Them by George Szirtes

We are
concerned, of course,
mortified even, but
we wouldn’t want them near us as
things stand.

They are
Their wishes and desires
are wrong. They’re a potential

Let them
talk to the right
professionals. Let them
talk through their unfitness for us,
for life.

Once they
are no longer
themselves we will love them
the way we consider they should
be loved.

we can’t love them
the way they are let them
talk through how they might be more what
we love.

We want
them to be safe
and happy the way we
want them to be safe and happy.
Like that.

with a little
adjustment they would be
perfectly useful citizens,
not dead.

Let them
talk and be like
us by talking the way
we talk about ourselves to each

We feel
pity for them.
That is noble of us.
It is to our credit that we

It’s their
own fault of course,
the fault of those like them,
pity is our way of showing
just that.