by Chris Norris
There's words for right and words for wrong,
There's words that give you hope
And words that help you get along
When you can scarcely cope.
There's words that tell of black despair,
Of torment, grief and shame,
And words of love that, unaware,
Convey you're not to blame.
My father faced a living hell
In Burma, World War Two,
But never found the words to tell
What horrors he'd been through.
The fighting talk, the Churchill note,
The passions duly stirred;
The daily letters home he wrote,
Then burned them, every word.
Two decades on it was, and we
Just stood and watched as they,
Those censored sheets we'd never see,
Went their intended way.
It's a cliche, I know: 'just wish
I'd got to know my Dad
But he was so, like, standoffish
I missed what chance I had'.
The words it was that told him: stick
It out, fight the good fight,
Get through this terror-zone, then kick
Word-habits: lips shut tight!
Words failed him in so many ways:
Consigned those Burma years
To the war's margin, filled his days
And nights with nameless fears,
And turned the verbal barrage round
From pointing at 'the Hun'
To the 'red menace' that they'd pound
With word-blitz, bomb and gun.
'Man of few words', the standard tag,
Or 'post-traumatic stress',
Though he'd have been the last to drag
Up stuff like that, I guess.
One thing I know: he'd not have stayed
So quiet when they rolled out
The full red-carpet state parade
On D-Day, just to tout
How close it was, our special tie
To Donald Trump's regime
Of fascist hucksters out to try
Their luck with our home team
Of quislings, place-men, public-school-
Bred demagogues, and all
The hate-filled tabloid hacks who'd fool
Us into playing ball.
If he'd lived on to see what they
Now made of it, not died
Of 'chest complaints' held just at bay
Since Burma, he'd have eyed
Those bastards up and told them: 'you're
The kind we fought back then,
Gut-fascists, Trump's fifth-column corps,
Lord Haw-Haws born again'.
There's things that words just can't describe,
Things so barbaric, vile,
Or hideous that a diatribe
Spews out out like so much bile.
And then there's times when words fall short,
As with some crass event,
Like Trump at D-Day, when a snort
Of rage best says what's meant.
But times there are when words alone
Can break the solitude,
Strike eloquent the silence-prone,
And stem hate's monstrous brood.
A Puzzle Solved
by Chris Norris
I tried and tried to figure out
Why Trump's face seemed a blend
Of mouldy orange, childish pout,
And chimpanzee's rear end.
And then I figured: it's that O-
Shaped mouth, that aperture
That, anus-like, emits a flow
Too noxious to endure.
It winks and blinks, and then it speaks
Those words of hate whose stench
Reveals how baby’s nappy leaks
When sphincter fails to clench.
That's what we mean, us folk who think
He’s talking through his arse,
Since how else reckon with the stink
From that foul underpass?
It's his anus mirabilis,
Year of the Spouting Rear,
When every liquid fart says: kiss
My arse, then lend an ear.
For it's not eloquence nor wit
That issues from this small
Round mouth of mine, but fascist shit
Lapped up by lickers all.
Christopher Norris is Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy at the University of Cardiff. He is the author of more than thirty books on aspects of philosophy, politics, literature, the history of ideas, and music.