Saturday, 14 October 2023 12:56

When Braverman quotes Shelley

Written by
in Poetry
When Braverman quotes Shelley

When Braverman quotes Shelley

by Paul Francis

Our setting is celestial bliss.
“Hey, Percy, have a look at this.”
He thinks the angel’s having a laugh –
she offers him the Telegraph.
“The Tory Party Conference? No.”
For Shelley, he won’t stoop that low
but she’s insisting that he needs
to see this. So he sits and reads.

“My parents came here years ago
blown by a wind that’s soft and low
but hurricanes are on the way
of migrants claiming they are gay.
The Human Rights Act is a joke
and Labour’s desperate to be woke;
no borders, predators set free
at the expense of you and me.
If they get in they’ll give you grief
and punish you for your belief
that men and women aren’t the same,
that slave owners were not to blame.
They’ll try to stop you being free
with gender ideology.”
“There’s no such thing!” – the heckler’s shout
is swiftly drowned, he’s frogmarched out.
Suella’s calm, we understand;
he’s silly, but should not be banned.
On London council fifteen years;
“She’s stoking homophobic fears”
says Andrew Boff, who’s also blue.
A gay conservative. Who knew?

Shelley complains he’s had enough;
“Why should I bother with this stuff.
It’s Braverman, I know her well,
notorious minister from hell
who’s spreading hate. That’s nothing new.”
“What’s new is that she’s quoting you”.

“You what?” “The Masque of Anarchy.
Your dream that sets the people free
to set aside the rulers’ yoke.
She quotes from it.” “Is this a joke?”

“’Fraid not. Where is it? Here we go.
I tell it like it is. I know
the luxury belief brigade
in ivory towers, they’ve got it made.
They know they’re safe, their jobs aren’t lost
when migrants come. We pay the cost.
We victims, ordinary folk
who don’t believe in being woke,
don’t want net zero, crooks set free,
those boats arriving. You’re like me.
They say I lie, you know it’s true
‘cos we are many, they are few.”

Swearing in Heaven’s out of place
but this is such a special case
the angel thinks she’ll let it slide.
She waits for Shelley to subside
as he, eventually, replies.
“I’m gobsmacked. Can’t believe my eyes –
she’s got the power, she’s in control,
it’s her fault we are in this hole.
She’s plotting headlines, never stops
preparing soundbites, photo opps
but when it comes to actual work
the Home Office is going berserk.
The backlog is a massive queue
because she doesn’t have a clue.
She’s pressing buttons all the time
that lead to cruelty and crime
and now she has the nerve to claim
that she’s a victim. No. No shame.

Applause at conference is a thrill,
a tribute to her power and skill.
She has to calculate which lies
will gain most traction, help her rise.
But like she says, there is a cost –
in families split and futures lost.
The casualties, so far below
there’s no way she would ever know
those desperate husbands, anxious wives.
She’s only looking up; she thrives
on climbing ladders as she strives
to stake her claim through ruined lives.”

Read 426 times Last modified on Saturday, 14 October 2023 13:02
Paul Francis

Paul Francis is a retired teacher, living in Much Wenlock, who's
active in the West Midlands poetry scene. His website is