Martin Rowson

Martin Rowson

Martin Rowson is a multi-award-winning cartoonist, writer and broadcaster. Photo: Fred Rowson.

The Migrants
Thursday, 29 October 2020 10:16

The Migrants

Published in Poetry

The Migrants

by Martin Rowson

In the hot stifling tiny room
The cold dead eyes blanked
     Even an iota
Of their torment or their tears
Or their mourning as the dead voice
     Catechized on quotas,
Spoke flatly of the processes,
Rules, restrictions, retributions,
     The penalties compounded by each error,
The limits on their movements,
The denial of information,
     The incremental, automatic ratchetting of terror
Until, right at the end,
The mask slipped for an instant
     As they stood to be led out and their feet began to burn:
The demon scratched its horns and shrugged
And mumbled, "I just don't get it.
     When will these klutzes ever learn?
Why do they keep on coming here at all?
Ah well. Funny old world." The demon coughed into the sulphurous air
     And picked up a pile of ledgers
As on the wall behind it
The current Hell Secretary's portrait
     Got crisper at its edges
While they were led away
To a distant pit, to wait. And wait. And wait
     And wait among rank upon innumerable rank
Of those who'd made it this far,
Far further than the corpses washing through the clinker
     And clumping along the Styx's opposite bank.

Cultural Marxism
Tuesday, 27 October 2020 08:15

Cultural Marxism

Published in Poetry

Cultural Marxism

by Martin Rowson

I met a Cultural Marxist
Who took me to Swan Lake
"Those swans denote the Class War!"
Quoth he. I found his take
Compelling if naive, but now
I'm told it's a disgrace
By a Cultural Fascist
Who then shot me in the face.

Team Song
Thursday, 15 October 2020 08:32

Team Song

Published in Poetry

Team Song

by Martin Rowson

You put your tender in!
You drive your rivals out!
You send in your consultants
When the money's thrown about!
You put the Hokey-Covid
In your Turnover
That's what it's all about!

Whooooaaaaaaa! Hokey-hokey-Covid!
Wheeeeeeeeeeee! Hokey-hokey-Covid!
Phwaaaoooooor! Hokey-hokey-Covid!
Knees bent
Boots filled
Ra-ra-ra!

You drive the numbers up!
You keep the proles locked down!
Send in more consultants
Who can go to town
Getting the Hokey-Covid
In our Turnover
That's what it's all about!

Phwoooooaaaaaaar! Hokey-hokey-Covid!
Phheeeeeeeeeeeeew! Hokey-hokey-Covid!
Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Hokey-hokey-Covid!
Lungs clogged
Boots filled
Ra-ra-ra!

We'll fuck up track and trace
But everything is fine!
The 'R' rate's on the rise
But so's the bottom line!
We've got the Hokey-Covid
In our Turnover
That's what it's all about!

Seeeeeeeeeeeeerco-key-hokey-Covid!
Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiido-key-hokey-Covid!
Seeeeeeeeeeeeeerco-key-hokey-Covid!
Chums in
Boots filled
Ra-ra-ra!

Eden
Friday, 09 October 2020 09:13

Eden

Published in Poetry

Eden

by Martin Rowson

Some years ago George Monbiot
Told me his rewilding schemes,
Worthy and exquisite plans
For reconnecting rootless we
With the Eden in us all,

With our internal wilderness
Caught inside, like Milton said,
And trapped in dreams or yearning hope,
But with his help we can break out
Of our enclosed hearts.

And although Covid's done its best
To batter at the balustrades
Of human hubris, then as now
Nature still requires some help
From her murderers' hands.

Enlightening landowners was,
He said, the way to dam against
The ecocidal flood now washing
Through the laceholes of our boots
And corroding all our souls.

There was a problem though, he said.
The landowners all loved his schemes,
And saw them as a final chance
To clear out all their tenants so
A hundred wastelands bloom.

Which goes to show that, while poor George
Rambles on the path to hell,
His knapsack spilling good intentions
Like breadcrumbs in the hungry woods,
Eden's just bolus in the serpent's guts.

See here

Form and Content
Thursday, 01 October 2020 11:41

Form and Content

Published in Poetry

Form and Content

by Martin Rowson

Today is National Poetry Day, so I must now inform
The World that she whom I adore, she who keeps me warm,
Hates my verse, abhors my rhymes, thinks my scansion gorm-
Less.
My love, alas, approves the content but deplores the form.

What I see as a refuge from the wild, encircling storm,
She sees as simply stinkier than a Belgian borstal dorm
And drippier than the rubber trees in a short story by Maugham.
Alas, my love approves the content but deplores the form.

It gets yet worse: not only does my verse underperform
Because it's written, so she claims, in ways outside the norm;
I think she thinks it should be eaten by a locust swarm.
My love, alas, approves the content but deplores the form.

Our daughter's worse, for she believes ALL poetry is grim;
Thinks trying to express your thoughts and feelings thus is lame,
Which leads me, with great sorrow, to conclude we must assume
She really hates the content AND truly deplores the form.

Me? I think that my poor verses have a certain chorm,
And by and large I kid myself that they do little horm.
Moreover they've a neutral impact on my huge incorm,
So I approve their content and I approve their form!

The Rule of Law
Tuesday, 15 September 2020 08:36

The Rule of Law

Published in Poetry

The Rule of Law

words and image by Martin Rowson

"Boris" has fucked The Rule of Law!
And what's in there not to adore?
Now we can batter down his door
And piss upon his parquet floor,
Steal everything he's got, and more,
Then sock the fucker on the jaw
And he can't even call The Law!

Posh twats straight out of Evelyn Waugh
Survey vast tracts of fen and moor
Their family's owned since days of yore
And every fat complacent boor
Assumes they'll own it evermore -
But not without The Rule of Law!

For "libertarians" ignore
That mutual aid's required before
You smash the state and ditch the law.
They think that they can simply whore
After loot and furthermore,
Unbound by rules that they deplore,
They can pillage even more
And safely stash the swag offshore!

But typically, they don't explore
The flipside in this tug-o-war:
That WE can steal from THEM, and nor
Can they stop us, without The Law.
Nor will the sound of dropping jaw
Of Tories who've been so cocksure
Prevent the spilling of their gore
Without protection of The Law.

So now they've dumped The Rule of Law
Let's prise open their grasping claw,
Deprive them of their homes galore,
Smash their Oxbridge boatclub oar,
Land our ships upon their shore,
Bring down our hammers just like Thor
As we even up the score.

And if they scream "WHERE IS THE LAW?"
They should've thought of that before
They let "Boris" fuck The Law.

Rue Britannia, Land of Hopeless Tories
Wednesday, 26 August 2020 14:45

Rue Britannia, Land of Hopeless Tories

Published in Poetry

Rue Britannia, Land of Hopeless Tories

by Martin Rowson, with image above by Tom Janssen

I

Rue, Britannia!
Britannia, rue that knaves
Have for cent-u-aries
Kept us slaves!

Rue, Britannia,
You’ll always kid yourself
That Pat-riot-ism
Will trump wealth!

II

Land of hopeless Tories, Mother of the sleaze,
Whose history is gory and riddled with disease,
Wilder yet and wilder howl the Tory Press,
Regilding the dung heap of this fucking mess,
Regilding the dung heap of this fucking mess!

Past the Pastoral
Thursday, 25 June 2020 16:18

Past the Pastoral

Published in Poetry

Past The Pastoral

by Martin Rowson

By now I reckon I'm way past the pastoral,
Beyond beguilement
Immunised against contagious charms

The shallowed streams of dappled glamour
Contrived to pogrom trout;
The hedgerows' anarchism, fecund mutuality
Shouldered like everything into the margins,
Edged out, then forced to fortress the
Multiple stab wounds of tilled fields;
The monotony of monocultures servicing monopolists
And comehithering the townies like a burnt out ladyboy.

And all of it as glitteringly contrived as an
18th Century automaton in subfusc,
Its china hands still jerking round
The same old endless card trick,
Watched with a soft-palating of gurgles
From the porch of Cotswolds cottages
The hue of earwax.

Though, for the briefest interlude,
As Earth tried once again to
Shrug us off like a
Lingering bad cold
The native chaos looked like fighting back
Before retreating once again to bide its time
And actually
The absence of that eternal trunkroad hum
Beneath uncrosshatched skies,
The patchwork silences below the birdsong,
Merely evoked an earlier nostalgic age
When cycle-clipped folklorists
Wrapped in tweed and tight ideals
Pedalled down the crunchy lanes
To lone, hagridden hamlets
To ameliorate Industrialised Warfare
By confiscating culture.

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