But yesterday, your noble fathers bled
Upon the fields of France, where countless dead
Had found among the vines their final rest,
To gild with fame a venerated crest
Whose princely brandishing from age to age
Outlasted armies and the tyrant’s rage.
But yesterday, you bravely fought and won
A war against the socialistic Hun
Who sought to clap you in the helot’s chains
And seize the free world’s economic reins.
Again, but yesterday, the darkest hour
Of all the world you lifted by your power,
When many owed so much to you, so few,
Across all continents and oceans blue;
No sacrifice too great, no effort spared,
You rallied to the battle and declared,
In England’s name, the inauspicious fight
Against the German Marxist and his spite.
When fire from your once-peaceful skies rained down
On London’s ancient temples of renown,
Your valour triumphed over every fear
Whose darkness could not mute your English cheer.
You fought, yet weeping for your sons that died,
And rose to glory on your fathers’ pride!


Would you, brave sons of Britain’s best
Now crawl in servitude at the behest
Of Prussia’s despot and her Eastbourne stooge,
And let your nation fall to subterfuge?
Would you embrace their Novus Ordo plot
To make you into something you are not,
Abandoning your martyrs’ ancient faith
In globalist apostasy to bathe,
Or sanctify Mohammed’s violent hordes
Who now seize power from your local lords?
Your government, a servile rubber-stamp,
Now makes your world into a migrant camp.
Already London teems with Saracens,
But will not welcome us Americans!

Full many are the masks that Satan wears:
Take Corbyn and his self-anointing airs,
Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May,
Who nourish Brussels while your towns decay.
These bear no love for you and never will,
But count as meaningless the nation’s will.
For Britain’s debt you have these frauds to thank:
What is their “Europe” but a German bank?
Whose fattened bureaucrats, a pampered club,
Appropriate your wealth, your selves to snub!
Corrupt, they steal and loot without surcease:
What Hitler lost through war they grab through peace!
Would you allow their constant plundering
To go unspoken with their blundering?
Surrender speech to their repressive state
To share with the Chinese a eunuch’s fate?
Would you let England topple on the brink,
Whilst petty deskmen dictate what you think?
Or let robotic censors gag your cries,
While leftists freely spew their shop-worn lies?

For, Freedom’s charter is an empty creed,
Until the day Tom Robinson is freed!


Fair England, land of hills and columbine,
Most gracious land of rills and eglantine,
Return to thy devout, ancestral ways,
The regal virtues of thy former days!
Come forth in splendor, pow’r, and might,
Proclaim thy fealty to truth and right!
Arise, O England, take thy rightful place,
Let not the heathen thy good self debase!
The sun is rising on thy fields of green
And glory waits for thee in stars unseen.
The sword of Arthur has ennobled thee:
Thou wast not made for chains and slavery.
The clang of battle on the winds of time
And shouts of knights that echo in my rhyme,
Resound today in every village square
And rise to heaven like an antique prayer,
That there will always and forever be
An England where the mind and heart are free
To celebrate her once and future King
Whom prophets prophesied and poets sing,
That Mary’s Dowry not be spent in vain
But magnify the Holy Virgin’s reign,
When Christ shall every bond of hate unbind
And England hold a torch for all mankind.


Joseph Charles MacKenzie is a traditional lyric poet, the only American to have won Scottish International Poetry Competition. His poetry has appeared in The New York Times, The Scotsman (Edinburgh), The Independent (London), US News and World Report, Google News, and many other outlets. He writes primarily for the Society of Classical Poets (New York) and Trinacria (New York). MacKenzie has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Related Post

‘Advice to an Aspiring Careerist’ by Joseph S. S...   —from A Gallery of Ethopaths Schools are diploma mills that provide Credentials for people who have to hide In the small chinks of some cor...

96 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    Bravo, Joseph MacKenzie!

    Tommy Robinson is one of the few persons in England left with the backbone and guts to fight against the degradation of his people. God bless him and strengthen those like him.

    • Hugh Maclean

      Tommy Robinson is a far right bigot and is a member of the English Defence League who spread hate for immigrants and in their nationalism represent a threat to peace.
      I find the veneration for him in this thread an outrageous breech of time served liberal attitudes and representative of Trump intolerance. Shame on all of you.

  2. Jan Buchanan-Medina

    Splendid! My heart and prayers are with Mr Robinson. There is nothing more noble than Truth and its Defence. Your offering is exquisite in its expression of history and the many present pc attempts to trample the values of free speech. PC used to be the subject of dark humour, it’s now a threat to common sense. Time is ripe to wake the Lion from her sleep and once again raise the Standard high. Thank you Joseph Charles MacKenzie. I salute your elegant tribute.
    Jan Buchanan-Medina

  3. Jo Patti

    Thank you for writing it. Important to put into poetry as well as prose this brave man’s sacrifice. I shall share it on social media and I hope you can as well.

  4. Joseph Tessitore

    Bravo, Joseph Charles! An incredible poem, for England and for the United States as well!

  5. James A. Tweedie

    Tommy Robinson’s efforts on behalf of his cause would be twice as effective if he could find a way to be half as articulate as Mr. MacKenzie.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Yes, this is perhaps where a poet can be useful, although, in some ironic way, it is precisely Mr. Robinson’s effectiveness, together with that of the English Defence League and many other organizations, which provided the groundwork and inspiration for the poem.

      In my native New Mexico, Mr. Robinson would be honored with a corrido, a kind of folk ballad composed by a singer-songwriter called a corridista.

  6. Satyananda Sarangi

    Hello Sir!

    A truthful poem for the sake of truth. In ancient Hindu culture, we have a saying : “Satyameva Jayate” – it means ” Truth always triumphs”.
    However, this incident makes me wonder about the scarcity of good that remains in this world.
    I would like to share a few lines on this degradation of humanity if I’m permitted by you.

    Kind regards

  7. David Paul Behrens

    Although I have limited knowledge about politics in England, I tend to agree with some of the sentiments in this poem. However, in terms of the line which says: “But will not welcome us Americans!”, I must point out, it depends on which Americans. Yesterday my granddaughter performed at St. Mathew’s Church in London as a member of the Southern California Ambassadors of Music Choir and Orchestra. Today she flies to Paris as the next stop on a tour of Europe, after which it is on to Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Germany. I had to mention this as a personal point of pride.

  8. C.B. Anderson

    Yes, Joseph, some of my specific ancestors came from England, but that is not the only reason I rally to the cause of preservation of that grand state. There are many others, both here and abroad, who uphold a similar sentiment. For us, by God, it might be as simple a thing as the fact that most of us here have a commitment to preserve and extend the tradition of English literature. Here’s what some others have had to say:


    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Thank you, C. B. Anderson. It does seem from your link that we can still count on Englishmen to express themselves in very often the most original if not perfectly engaging ways!

      Your great love of England is evidently visceral and no doubt rests upon your broad historical knowledge, let alone your own Englishness. I can imagine that one of your many reasons for wishing to preserve the British state has something to do not only with the grand institutions she herself has preserved and developed and refined, but also that unique way in which she animates them, as if the British character were the first and foremost of all of them, the single most important institution upon which all the others depend—if you will please forgive me coming off as rather abstract.

      I have had the great privilege of knowing many Englishmen of every conceivable class throughout my life. One cannot fail to notice within individuals that there is something in the national character which endears England to everyone, everywhere.

      As a poet, this one fact presents quite a number of challenges, however. One must finally give up on trying to define that character, forget about discoursing on its notorious charms, and rather hope that its effects in one’s own mental construction of it might shine through in ones verses, if I may wield a wee criticism against myself.

      I hope I have not altogether disappointed.

  9. David Watt

    Your elegant command of the English language evident in this poem serves to reinforce the very expressiveness we stand to lose through degradation of tradition and culture.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Dear Mr. Watt,

      I am greatly relieved to discern your sense of tradition and culture as, even among those who call themselves “classical” poets, I am every now and then criticized precisely for my recourse to tradition.

      Pope was perhaps, as many today still insist, including myself, the best English poet of the 18th century, and even if his remarkable development of the heroic couplet never reached the perfections of his French counterparts (think —one can see even in the Epistle on Man a certain number of baroque syntactical twistings that our modern ears would find awkward indeed), there was never any reason for discarding the discipline behind them.

      I don’t believe any poet did more for the English rhymed couplet that Pope. If I must set aside Homer’s Greek for any reason—and it is more and more out of simple fatigue these days—I will turn to no other English translation that Pope’s. Given that his version is in rhymed verse in a rhyme-poor language, it is absolutely remarkable that it happens to be also far more faithful to Homer’s Greek than, say, Fitzgerald’s more contemporary translation in what amounts to prose.

      And so, one realizes that Pope’s development of the heroic couplet was really a great gift to the world, in the sense of being one of the finest developments in the history of modern English literature. But the Romantics, through a kind of doctrine of indiscipline—fine as many of their works may be—were unable to bear the rigors of such an arduous discipline, and so one might say that they missed a great opportunity.

      Even if we are unable to emulate the individual poets of tradition, it has always seemed to me that we would do always and everywhere well to at very least acquire some part of their method in view of pleasing our modern tastes.

      I have a counterpart in the world of music, by the way. The English sacred polyphonist Nicholas Wilton of London. This greatest of English contemporary composers freely takes from every shelf of England’s musical pantry, as it were, with surprisingly effective results of rarest beauty and elegance. Just when one thinks that he is reproducing William Byrd, one very quickly catches oneself in discerning Wilton’s originality which is informed as much by Mozart as by Palestrina and, even more important, by his own personal sense of the sacred in music.

      To address your extremely important statement about the relationship of expression to culture and tradition, I feel that culture and tradition are degraded primarily by lack of use.

      Thank you for your always insightful remarks.

  10. ...

    Congratulations, you wrote a poem bemoaning society’s “decay” (read: the declining supremacy of white people) and the imprisonment of a white supremacist. Robinson lead the BNP for a period; a party that denies the holocaust. Oh, how brave of you to defend him!

    I am forced to ask… how the hell did this get published?

    Mr. Mantyk, with all due respect, come on. You can do better than putting stuff out there like this. People will associate your website with politics (and the far-right) rather than with poetry. And that would be a shame.

    This poem itself is nice, don’t get me wrong. Bravo to Mackenzie for his command of the English language. But again I wonder: what the hell? The stark contrast between the beauty of your verse and the grotequeness of your ideology… I can’t be the only person repulsed by this poem’s message, yes? Because nobody has issued anything but praise in the comments here.

    All in all, this website would be better off if it avoided straying into the political.

    • ...

      Ouch, just reread that. Let me try again.

      I say this in a civil manner: I would like for this website to try and avoid the political sphere, because it tends to distract from the verse itself in a negative way. Especially if it those political beliefs approach the fringe. Or at least change the thumbnail for these posts. The juxtaposition of modern photos on poems like this vs pretty paintings everywhere else is odd, I think. I suppose I direct those comments to Mr. Mantyk. I otherwise enjoy this website very much, and think it’s moving in a good direction, even if I disagree with (some of) the political poems.

      Mr. Mackenzie: I am fond of your poetic mission as defined by your website, I simply strongly disagree with your political ideology as expressed here. But what am I going to do arguing with a stranger online? I apologize for responding in a heated manner.

      • Damian Robin

        Thanks, Mr McK, for this link. I had seen bits of Mr Robinson’s Oxford Union visit, mainly the Q and A. This gives the deeper backstory to his stance.

    • E. V.

      Anonymous, this is probably the main reason why SCP’s publishes more right-wing poetry: Many people who prefer “classical” to “contemporary” also appreciate tradition from many perspectives, ranging from politics to culture. For example, I prefer historic homes over modern ones, and write poetry from a roll top desk. Writers espousing liberal politics prefer the opposite; “contemporary” over “classical” and write modern “poetry”, a style usually inconsistent with “formal verse” criteria. However (unlike Antifa) neither SCP nor Evan believe in censorship. Therefore, if you’d like to submit “left-wing” poetry IN FORMAL VERSE, go for it.

      • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

        There is also a fascinating subtext to your astute observation, E. V., in that form is very much related to beauty which, as a transcendental property of being, is in turn interchangeable with truth.

  11. Leo Yankevich

    It’s five in the morning in Poland. I have dear friends who support Tommy Robinson, and some who think him a fraud with no sense of British Law, as his filming in front of court was illegal.

    I find your poem well-made. I’d like more of the same kind, poems with gonads.

  12. Leo Yankevich

    What a fagtard you are! Who cares what you think? You are a cowardly nameless clown. Liberals are not even human beings. We have special FEMA camps prepared especially for you in Northern Alaska where you’ll be turned out nightly by Black Lives Matter Prisons guards. Think about it, libtard!

  13. Evan Mantyk

    Dear Mr. MacKenzie,

    Thank you for your rousing and timely poem!

    Dear . . .,

    Thank you for your civil response and thank you for reading. I am certainly open to running a better image if there is one available.
    It seems to me that Mr. Robinson is brave. He and other UK residents are being denied a basic right. Socialism, the first phase of communism, has robbed people of their common sense in the West and there should be international outcry (https://www.theepochtimes.com/how-the-specter-of-communism-is-ruling-our-world). The Society has a duty to give classical style poets a forum to speak out on significant topics of our day and age, which of course include politics and of course include journalists being jailed for refusing to bow to strongarm socialist policies.

    • ...

      Mr. Mantyk: thank you for your civility as well. I understand your rationale for publishing this poem now. As for the image, I have no concrete suggestions. Perhaps a painting connected thematically? Of someone being jailed? It’s not truly an issue, I’d just like to see it keep to the classical aesthetic. Keep up the good work!

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Dear Mr. Mantyk,

      I applaud your keeping the unfortunate comment of the nameless attacker (supra).

      It reads like the last breath of a beast that died on the night of November 4, 2016. Even better, it bears all the marks of the hooded, masked, and faceless liberal.

      As for my ideology, its most perfect expression will not be found in any of my poems.

      For, my ideology is the crucifix.

      Neither left nor right, but up.

  14. Taylor Thomas

    Magnificent! I have been following Tommy Robinson’s exploits for several years now due to his association with Info Wars and Alex Jones. It appears that England has become so corrupt with the pedophile royal class that the people who shine a light on the abuse of children are doomed to spend more time in jail than the very ones who they unmasked. I am glad that you are aware of the situation and have such an excellent insight into the larger cogs at work that contribute to such a dramatic miscarriage of justice. Another excellent work.

  15. Joseph S. Salemi

    To …

    Like Antifa terrorists, you prefer to keep your identity masked. How courageous.

    You want a website to “avoid the political sphere.” And yet it’s a sure bet that if a pro-feminist or anti-Trump or pro-immigrant poem were published here, you wouldn’t have made a peep. Why not be totally honest and admit that when you say “political sphere” you mean anything that expresses a viewpoint contrary to the pabulum of left-liberal orthodoxy?

    When you ask “How the hell did this get published?” you are essentially asking why censorship wasn’t imposed on a viewpoint that you have decided is “fringe.” Is that the kind of liberalism and tolerance and diversity that you are pushing? It sure doesn’t sound like what Voltaire or Jefferson would have argued.

    I’m trying to be civil too. But it is precisely this sort of blinkered, reflexively left-liberal, censorious, anti-rightist ideology that is enraging thousands of Americans and Europeans, and that is making Tommy Robinson into a martyr.

    We aren’t “the fringe” anymore. Deal with it.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Remarkable also is the inability of the intellectually-crippled left to articulate a literary argument—something which is impossible if one’s entire vocabulary consists of only the two words “racist” and “Islamophobe.”

  16. James A. Tweedie

    Several thoughts somewhat behind the curve:
    1. I support Mr. Mantyk for his decision (and reasons given) to publish Mr. MacKenzie’s poem.
    2. I am disappointed that some who choose to express disagreement to some of the strong (conservative) political positions expressed in poems and comments feel the need to post their comments under pseudonyms, or “Anonymous,” or “Mr. . . .” My disappointment is both with those who seek to hide behind such anonymity but also with the site itself, where such dissenting opinions and their authors (whether expressed in comments or in poetry) have been repeatedly subjected to a level of mean-spirited abuse seemingly calculated to cause all but the the most stubborn or sadistic to walk away from the SCP site in disgust, kicking the dust from their sandals as they make their exit. Having experienced it myself, I can affirm that personal attacks and uncivil intimidation are an existential reality in this otherwise collegial community.
    3. Having made an earlier comment in this thread I do not want “Mr. . . . ” to think that I was in any way expressing “praise” for the content of Mr. MacKenzie’s poem or the person to whom it was addressed. I only complimented the poet on his ability to articulate Mr. Robinson’s cause far better than Mr. Robinson has been able to do.
    4. While I concede that I am concerned about some of the same things that concern Mr. Robinson I do not personally find him to be particularly worthy of Mr. MacKenzie’s poem. Out of respect for the site I will keep my reasons for this to myself.
    5. I will, however, say that I find Mr. MacKenzie’s support of both Robinson and the EDL somewhat curious insofar as over five years ago Robinson told the BBC that he was dismayed to discover that the EDL’s ranks had been swollen with racist and neo-Nazi supporters. Several months later he distanced himself from the EDL altogether because of his concerns over the “dangers of far-right extremism.”
    6. I only add that I wholeheartedly affirm Mr. MacKenzie’s closing words and gladly claim them as my own:

    “As for my ideology, its most perfect expression will not be found in any of my poems.

    For, my ideology is the crucifix.

    Neither left nor right, but up.”

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      The reality is that anyone group who opposes the Islamo-globalist establishment is either infiltrated directly by George Soros’s poseurs and provocateurs (one of international communism’s oldest tactics) or subject to propaganda usually taking the form of “their ranks are swollen by Nazis,” something which was said of none other than the Republican party in the United States.

      That Mr. Robinson may have witnessed such an infiltration in various groups in no way diminishes either his work or that of the EDL or any other of the many movements now arising to meet this urgency. The EDL’s mission could not be more clearly stated on the home page of their website and has absolutely not the least thing to do with Nazism of any kind.

      Indeed, the contrary is true: Every ideological doctrine promoted by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party since 1922 has become the European Union’s official policy down to taking the side of Barack Obama for what amounts to the elimination of Israel, Hitler’s dream of an inter-European financial system designed exclusively for Germany’s benefit, and the depraving of society through the normalization of sexual perversion.

      One of the great successes of EU and American leftist propaganda is precisely the raising of voices against popular national movements for the least “taint” in their numbers.

      And yet, there is not a single group or subgroup within these popular national movements that have committed anything remotely as grave or as numerous as the myriad unspeakable crimes committed by pseudo-refugees flooding into Europe, to include actual beheadings in the public square, endless knife attacks in London, terror attacks in the ancient capitols of Europe, genital mutilation, human trafficking, and institutional child sexual exploitation…

      …crimes which the EU and the American left have tacitly but overtly condoned by their official protection of the perpetrators as a privileged class of untouchables—in view of an orchestrated, deliberate, and coordinated attempt to eliminate Christianity from the face of the earth.

      And THAT is why Tommy Robinson is important.

      • Charles Southerland

        Not only that, Mr. MacKenzie–

        I don’t have to be civil to demon-possessed leftists. I’d rather scrape their putrefying remains off the the streets and bury them as close to Hell as I can dig.

        …, Sue me for being uncivil.

  17. James A. Tweedie

    Sheesh. I did not express any personal opinion on the matter but only referenced Tommy Robinson’s own comments. If you don’t agree with what he said I respectfully suggest that you direct your comments in his direction.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Oh, no disrespect intended, Mr. Tweedie. The point was simply that what was said is unrelated to what Tommy Robinson has come to symbolize for the vast majority of his fellow Englishmen. In other words, as a poet, I am concerned with symbols infinitely more than particulars of the men who embody them. I naively assumed that my poem would be read in this way.

      If anything, I thank you for the occasion to answer an objection.

      • James A. Tweedie

        I have no problem with “Tommy Robinson” being a symbol for something larger than himself. The process by which an individual becomes a larger-than-life symbol is quite fascinating. Think of Guy Fawkes, or Ned Kelly, or Carrie Nation, for example. None of these rose to any great position of power or influence but, through their very notoriety, became cultural icons, representing movements and historical events larger and more complex than their own lives actually embraced. I accept the distinction you have made between Tommy Robinson, the person, and Tommy Robinson. the now-iconic symbol.

  18. C.B. Anderson

    To all,

    Why would anyone ever want to eliminate political discussion from the comment section of this website. This was the most spirited intellectual exchange here ever! And thank you, Joseph S., for nailing that sniper to his own coffin. And Evan, let not your heart be troubled. There are a lot of good and intelligent people here who appreciate an open (if unpopular) forum. I’d tell Mr. X to go to hell, but he’s already there.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Really, we should all be grateful to you, C. B. Anderson, for reminding us of the pleasure of lively discourse, an art which is all too often forgotten.

      And yes, for razor sharp sword-work, it never gets any better than Joseph Salemi, to be sure!

      All the best to you!

  19. Dave Whippman

    Mr X’s earlier comment typifies a problem: that anyone who opposes – in any shape or form – the idea of mass immigration and what it brings is dubbed racist, pro-Nazi, etc. Tommy Robinson has his critics, but at least he never abused vulnerable girls as the grooming gangs he exposed did. The fact is that those gangs flourished for years because the authorities were afraid that if they cracked down on them, they would get a similar response to the one that Mr X gave to this poem. Also: when did politics not belong in poetry? Read W H Auden, W B Yeats and a lot of others.
    For me, this was a well-written poem. I don’t agree 100% with all of it, but it highlighted the real problem, of a clash of cultures, that is only getting worse in much of the western world.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      I appreciate, Mr. Whippman, your ability to put matters into perspective.

      And there is also the theological perspective. God summons all kinds of men for all kinds of reasons to all kinds of tasks.

      The man of whom we speak sits in prison in fear of his very life. This is a man with children and a family, a man who grew up in Muslim-occupied Luton, harassed every day, beaten, spit upon, threatened with violence and death.

      Perhaps it is time to think about the virtues of such a man and ask that question which is most conducive to one’s humility: Have I been gifted by my Creator with the same virtues—or are mine by far the lesser?


      • Joseph S. Salemi

        This corrupt and venal British government wants Tommy Robinson to be killed in prison by Muslims. That is their intention. All we can do now is pray for the poor man, and remember him as a hero of the resistance.

        And this is what we call a “Tory” government! God help the English people.

      • Dave Whippman

        Points taken sir. This was an interesting poem to read, and it sparked off an interesting debate.

  20. E. V.

    Once again, Joseph, you have written a masterpiece. If some on the political left are in a twist, perhaps it’s because they feel threatened by a talented, right-wing poet. If you don’t mind my asking, I’m curious: How long did it take to write this tribute to Tommy Robinson?

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Well, there is a question as to whether I possess any talent at all because I always beg God for my words and feel everything I possess I have received. I began all my works in prayer with the acknowledgment that I possess nothing and am nothing.

      I doubt that I can answer your question to your satisfaction, E. V. as I have never thought to time myself. If it should be of interest to you, I can say that I wrote the “Letter to England” in one sitting in the course of my morning coffee, after my spiritual duties.

      • E. V.

        Oh my! Joseph Charles MacKenzie, I am beyond impressed! (When I asked you how long it took to compose “Letter to England: For Tommy Robinson”, I didn’t mean in minutes/hours. I meant in weeks/months.) The fact that you did this in one sitting is beyond remarkable! Yes! You definitely do have talent, but it is also very modest of you to acknowledge that all blessings, including talent, come from God. Thank you for sharing your gift.

  21. B. S. Eliud Acrewe

    Mr. Mackenzie’s “Letter to England” is a spirited commentary on his vision of England. Structurally it divides into three sections of 12, 18, and 12, iambic pentametre couplets. The poem opens with a nice rhetorical flourish, “but yesterday”, repeated thrice, and proceeds with striking gusto. Throughout, the poem is remarkable for its admixture of contemporary and ancient diction. Though Mr. MacKenzie mentions Pope in his comments, his heroic couplets are, though not totally unlike Pope’s (and Dryden’s) couplets, particularly in the realm of “public poetry”, rather more like Shakespeare’s lines in his historical plays (especially at the opening). Though I would not call it a masterpiece for Mr. MacKenzie’s historical flaws and the occasional metrical shortening, as in “Come forth in splendor, pow’r, and might”, the overall effect of the poem is invigourating. The poem is really not about Tommy Robinson, as was my smaller, more focused, less rousing, dodeca “The Imprisonment of Tommy Robinson”, and his dedication and mention at the end of section II are rather anticlimactic, when one considers Mr. Mackenzie’s larger, overarching vision. There are many excellent lines in the poem, from echoes of Churchill and Brooke to incisive couplets like the following: “Would you let England topple on the brink/ Whilst petty deskmen dictate what you think?” In short, I concur wholeheartedly with Mr. Watt, Mr. Mackenzie demonstrates here in his “Letter to England” an “elegant command of…English”.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      I would like everyone to know that I write for the toughest, most difficult audience in Christendom: the readers and poets of the SCP!

      It is important that Mr. Acrewe correctly read my title, as others had mistaken the poem as a piece about Tommy Robinson when it was in fact for him. The poem is rather about the English people and their century-long struggle against German socialism which continues even today.

      Angela Merkle is Hitler without the mustache. The EU is the Fourth Reich.

      As for the shortening of words like “power,” I do wish that, when I was auditioning actors for the recording of the Sonnets for Christ the King, that I had not come across so many who voiced the “w,” giving the word two syllables, which in classic recitation (think Gielgud’s recording of Shakespeare’s sonnets) never happens.

      This poem was meant to be recited, so my shortening of that word is the stage instruction of disgruntled poet.

      Mr. Acrewe may also be right in identifying the style of the couplets as rather more in Shakespeare’s realm than Pope’s, causing me to go back this morning to the Agincourt speech in Henry V, although I confess that I did my best to emulate neither Pope nor Shakespeare (one does not have to in borrowing their techniques). Still, I find myself unable to disagree with Mr. Acrewe on this point, as the third part of the poem certainly has recourse to Elizabethan diction, precisely in honor of England’s golden age.

  22. EDLmedia

    What a wonderful poem!
    You have captured so well – albeit from half a hemisphere distant – the way millions of English men and women think and feel. Many of these are reluctant to voice their feelings, but this does not mean those feelings don’t exist.
    We will not venture further into criticism, but we can add that in matters of fact and implication, your work stands in no need of qualification or correction.
    Thank you for your contribution. We have been pleased to commend it to our members.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      On behalf of all our readers and poets, I thank you for this kind intervention on the part of the English Defence League’s media department, including the confirmation that I am not in need of qualification or correction in matters of fact or implication.

      The ever shifting relations among the British movement’s historical players—ephemeral minutiae compared the glorious successes the movement has achieved as a whole—are stale news indeed. The growing campaign initiated by the EDL many years ago is internationalizing at a rapid pace.

      Anglophone poets throughout the world have a natural obligation to support the English Defence League in union with its many allies and associates who at the present moment are ever growing in numbers. For, as seen in the many intelligent criticisms posted in this thread, the debt we Americans owe to the literary history and traditions of the British peoples can never be fully estimated or repaid.

      In our commitment to the continuation of those traditions, let our literary defence of Britain—whose freedom is the surest guarantee of our own—be always vibrant, meaningful, and true.

  23. Uwe Carl Diebes

    Though Mr. MacKenzie thought Mr. Acrewe was noting the shortening of the word “pow’r”, I don’t believe he was; after all, elision and contraction are not only entirely acceptable; but there is a natural tendency to condense the Englinguage in all kinds of ways. No, rather he was pointing out the line was one foot shorter than all the rest, making it, though forceful, an iambic tetrametre.

    But as for the antagonism to Deutschland (Germany), that is a bridge too far for those who are fascinated by German culture in many ways. Remember, in the same way that Angela Merkel may be lacking in moral insight, so too, Mr. MacKenzie mentions May, Sturgeon and Corbyn. A nation is not merely its leaders at any one point in time.

    Observe some of the figures in the last few hundred years in German music, for example. Though Händel came to England, he was part of the German linguistic culture, as were Bach, Glück, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelsohn, Schumann, Wagner, the Strausses, German-born Offenbach, Brahms, Mahler, etc. It is only a provincial insularity that could not see the greatness in the great body of work that came from such individuals.

    The same holds true in other fields, as, for example, mathematics: Leibniz, the Swiss Bernoullis and Euler, Gauss, Jacobi, Dirichlet, Riemann, Weierstrass, Cantor, Kronecker, Kummer, Frobenius, Steiner, Möbius, Plücker, Grassmann, Klein, Cantor, Hilbert, etc. There is a richness in German culture that, if one writes it off, one loses a great deal indeed. In the great body of Indo-European languages, English is, after all, a Germanic language.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      No one is attacking German Kultur, neither MacKenzie nor anyone else. Where do you get that crazy idea?

      We are simply saying that the E.U., dominated by a smug left-liberal ideologue like Merkel, is nothing but the Third Reich with a Smiley-face button. And Merkel, like almost all continental Europeans, is by nature an arrogant statist. Unfortunately there are too many degenerate Britons who now have the same attitude.

      Talking about Bach and Beethoven is absurd in this argument.

  24. Uwe Carl Diebes

    Where did you get that crazy idea?

    “But yesterday, you bravely fought and won
    A war against the socialistic Hun…”

    Are Germans Huns? Were all Germans of WW1 socialistic?

    “In England’s name, the inauspicious fight
    Against the German Marxist and his spite…”

    Which German Marxist(s)?

    “Of Prussia’s despot and her Eastbourne stooge
    And let your nation fall to subterfuge?”

    Is Angela Merkel a despot, or a duly elected Chancellor?
    Is Germany really only Prussia?

    “For Britain’s debt you have these frauds to thank:
    What is their “Europe” but a German bank?”

    Are May’s, Sturgeon’s, and Corbyn’s visions of Europe really only a German bank, or do they actually see more than that?

    “Corrupt, they steal and loot without surcease:
    What Hitler lost through war they grab through peace!”

    Which Germans are stealing and looting, or are some Germans just making excellent products?

    “Der Irrtum ist viel leichter zu erkennen, als die Wahrheit zu finden…”
    —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      This list proves Mr. Salemi’s point to perfection! Not a single attack on German music or mathematics.

      As for provincial insularity, it is now completely evident that Mr. Diebes has not the faintest idea of what is going on in Europe.

      For him, there is no hope.

      Still, it is a testament to the power of the “Letter to England” that his life revolves it.

  25. Uwe Carl Diebes

    1. The questions remain unanswered, but I don’t expect any answers. “Not everyone is able to read or interpret poetry.”

    2. The critical literary observation remains unnoted, but I don’t expect it to be, and “jealousy is blinding”!

    3. It seems “there is no hope for” me. But I shall soldier on.

    4. The “absurdity” of my comments comes from my “desperate far-left attempt to vindicate Merkel and the EU”. Hmm.

    5. “Angela Merkel is Hitler without the mustache. The EU is the Fourth Reich.” Obviously Mr. Diebes is “nonsensical and factually incorrect”.

    6. I haven’t the “faintest idea of what is going on in Europe”. I grant it is difficult. Think of what is going on in Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia…

    7. Croatia took second @ the World Cup. Yeehaw! Here is Croatian poet Ivan Gundulič (1589-1638), from his pastoral “Dubravka” on the priceless value of God-given, fair, sweet, beloved liberty.

    “O liepa, o draga, o slatka slobodo,
    dar u kom sva blaga višnji nam Bog je do,
    uzroče istini od naše sve slave,
    uresu jedini od ove Dubrave,
    sva srebra, sva zlata, svi ljudcki životi
    ne mogu bit plata tvoj čistoj lipot.”

    8. Apparently my “life revolves it”—the “Letter to England”. Huh?

    9. I find I agree with Mr. Acrewe’s assessment, though he seems to be offering the “stage instruction of a disgruntled poet.

    10. Here is a memorable previous quote of Mr. MacKenzie from July of 2017: “Mr. Wise, you made only one mistake in your” comments. “You failed to adore”.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      None other than the EDL’s media team has stated, in this very thread, that my Letter to England “captured so well – albeit from half a hemisphere distant – the way millions of English men and women think and feel. ”

      You’re always welcome to keep embarrassing yourself in front of the SCP’s British readers.

      Don’t know what to tell ya…

  26. Joseph S. Salemi

    I wonder if this tiresome gentleman could possibly desist from using these silly anagrammatic pseudonyms. Is there anything wrong with the name Bruce Dale Wise? Why this adolescent posturing?

    His original “questions” were answered fully. The value of German Kultur in music, mathematics, or any other field has nothing whatsoever to do with the political question being discussed. But Mr. Wise seems to think that if you appreciate German Kultur, you must necessarily favor everything that the current German Republic favors. I guess that means if you appreciate the beauty of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture, you also favor daily human sacrifice.

    But since Wise is so keen on having answers to his five original questions, let his chew on these:

    1) No, the Germans are not ethnically Huns. But that was the derogatory nickname given to them in World War I, and there is no reason not to use it again. In point of fact they certainly did live up to a Hunnish reputation at the pointless destruction of the Louvain, and the introduction of poison gas to warfare. And no, they were not all socialistic — but imperial Germany was the most statist and bureaucratic and socialistically-influenced government in the Europe of 1914.

    2. Which German Marxists were the English fighting? Well, how about Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, just to name the most prominent? Prior to the Russian revolution, Germany was the most communistically inclined nation in Europe. Its bureaucracy was world-famous for its mindless rigidity and regulatory nit-picking.

    3. No, Germany is not all Prussia. But the savage authoritarianism of Prussia has left its mark on all of Germany, right up to today. And yes, Merkel is a would-be despot, which is why she is hanging on desperately to power with her fingernails, even though her own cabinet is screaming at her stupidity and leftist ideology. And it is well to remember that Angela Merkel was raised in East Germany, and served as an official propagandist for Marxism. This bitch was “duly elected”? Big deal. So was Adolf Hitler.

    4. May, Sturgeon, and Corbyn are just stupid left-liberals, so why is their opinion important? The plain fact is that German arrogance and financial power are attempting to dictate to the rest of Europe how to live and what to think. Merkel has done everything to force Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and other smaller states to kowtow to E.U. orders. MacKenzie was perfectly correct to speak of Europe under the E.U. as a German bank.

    5. Germany may make good products — so what? No one denies Germans the right to sell them and make a profit. The real issue is the financial stranglehold of multinational banks (many headquartered in Germany) that are hell-bent on reducing all of Europe and beyond to a kind of chattel slavery to their world-encircling network. Why do you think the Deep State in America and Europe is so fanatically Russophobic? The Russians have declined, quite correctly, to be a part of this kleptocracy.

    Mr. Wise really doesn’t seem to know much about the European situation at all. I happen to have relatives in Germany and Italy, and believe me — people in Europe are well aware of the power-grab that Merkel and ideologues of her ilk are attempting. Perhaps Wise is unaware that there have been mass rapes of German women by Muslim immigrant scum, but the German Polizei (at Merkel’s order) have been forbidden to interfere, and any German male who attempts to prevent such rapes is himself arrested for disturbing the peace. Is that the Germany that you admire, Mr. Wise?

    And Mr. Wise — please don’t answer under some asinine pseudonym. It just isn’t becoming. We all think that Bruce Dale Wise is a very nice name.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Bruce Dale Wise is now missing in action, because, of course, he has no answer.

      And one suspects that his ignorance of history—to include those massive political movements which are the very hallmark of the present age—is ultimately coupled with a foundational lack of literary training and knowledge.

  27. Uwe Carl Diebes

    My, my, my—we are a bit of a Germa(no!)phobe. Nevertheless, I thank Mr. Salemi for Mr. Salemi’s answers.

    As relating to the five questions, cf. above.

    1. No. No. That is correct,

    2. Is Mr. MacKenzie really referring to Karl Marx? Hmm. Was it not the English who gave Marx sanctuary?

    3. No. That is correct. But, though Merkel is not perfect (nor Salemi, MacKenzie, Diebes, etc.), “would-be despot” and “bitch”—really? Yes, “duly elected” candidates do matter to England and to Germany—and to the United States of America too. And no, Hitler was not “duly elected”, as FDR was during that same time period, nor as Merkel has been in the New Millennium.

    4. It was Mr. MacKenzie’s poem that brought up the opinions of May, Sturgeon and Corbyn. My question relates to his interpretation of their visions of Europe—a German bank? If I am not mistaken, wasn’t London a greater financial hub than any German city before Brexit? And now?

    5. Multinationals doesn’t sound so much like specific Germans stealing and looting—certainly not Mr. Salemi’s relatives in Germany, nor my own. I do grant that international banking is corrupt in Europe, but also in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, though of course, at differening levels nationally. Ironically, these days it is the Russian economy that is most frequently discussed as a “kleptocracy” in economics.

    Finally, thanks to Mr. Salemi’s cogent arguments, I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being Uwe Carl Diebes.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      In fact, anyone who reads “Letter to England” immediately discerns that the first part is referring to a Germany that had fallen into barbarism in the First World War and a Germany that had fallen into Marxism in the Second—and that my use of qualifiers such as “socialistic” perfectly prevent the poem from being anti-German with the completely obvious subtext that the German people themselves have always been the first victims of false government as they are today….

      …anyone, that is, who possesses enough historical and cultural literacy to read the poem correctly, which, so far, has been everyone but you, Mr. Wise.

      Dr. Salemi has not only elucidated with perfect clarity my meaning, but he has exposed your motives for rejecting my meaning.

      It is moreover ironic that as the founder of the St. John’s College String Quartet, I played a German violin and performed a number of German composers which your thin little copied-and-pasted list does not even include. Ironic, again, that my baptismal priest, the subject of Stanley Kubrick’s first film, “The Flying Padre,” was a German immigrant, and that my current bishop is also a German immigrant.

      Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven belong to my Catholic heritage.

      Again, you are free to continue embarrassing yourself, under whatever name you please.

      But if I may suggest a more fitting pseudonym, one which more accurately conforms to the content of your writing, may I please suggest:


  28. Joseph S. Salemi

    Push a man hard enough, and his true ideological loyalties emerge. Such seems to be the case with my treatment of Bruce Dale Wise.

    His “answer” to point 3 makes it clear that Mr. Wise is still smarting over the 2016 election result in the United States. Perhaps — like so many left-liberals with Trump Derangement Syndrome — he thinks that Trump was not “duly elected.” Has he been seduced by the chimerical idea of Russian interference in that election, which allegedly prevented another bitch (the odious Hillary Clinton) from ascending to the presidency?

    As for Hitler’s accession to power, it came about in perfect accord with the Weimar Republic’s laws. Hitler was legally appointed to the German Chancellorship on January 30, 1933, just as several other persons (e.g. Bruning and von Papen) had been appointed to the Chancellorship in prior years. Don’t blame me if the electoral rules of the democratic Weimar Republic weren’t the same as those of democracies today.

    Karl Marx resided in England? Oh wow. I guess that makes England responsible for Marxism. Are you serious, Bruce?

    I notice you haven’t answered my question about the legally protected rapes of German women by Muslim immigrant scum (the same issue, by the way, that brought Tommy Robinson to public notice in Britain, where the identical thing was happening to girls in the north of England). If you can come up with plenty of pseudonyms, surely can you come up with a defense of this atrocity.

    By the way, “Hmm…” is not a logical argument. I can’t find a source for it in Aristotle.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Thank you, Mr. Robin for this invaluable information.

      The video linked is completely horrific. It is as if England has already fallen. To think that the official press in Britain actually relies on the reprisal lists of hard-left communist organizations to target entities for suppression and press black-outs!

      On the simple level of the violation of international norms of human rights, this is unacceptable.

  29. Uwe Carl Diebes

    1. I do think Mr. MacKenzie’s “Letter to England” is one of the better poems I have seen in the New Millennium. It is exciting, and it is polemical. I’m just merely pointing out historical errors in its iambic pentametres and some of its skewed positions that I frankly would do to any poem from Homer on.

    One of my questions had to do with the following couplets. Note the excellent diction and ideas succinctly and artistically placed.

    “In England’s name the inauspicious fight
    against the German Marxist and his spite.
    When fire from your once peaceful skies rained down
    On London’s ancient temples of renown,
    Your valour triumphed over every fear
    Whose darkness could not mute your English cheer.”

    Mr. MacKenzie tells us that “Germany…had fallen into Marxism in the Second” World War. My suggestion would be to replace Marxist with Nazi. Does the great statesman and historian Winston Churchill ever speak against “the German Marxist” in his renowned speeches of WW2?

    2. From Realist Ambrose Bierce’s “The Devil’s Dictionary”: “Ignoramus, n. A person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and having certain other kinds that you know nothing about.”

    3. “It is clear that Mr. Wise is still smarting over the 2016 election in the United States.”

    It actually looks pretty rosy over here.

    4. “He thinks Trump was not ‘duly elected’. Hmm.

    I think the final tally electoral college result is fairly clear: Trump/Pence 304 and Clinton/Kaine 227.

    5. “Has he been seduced by the chimerical idea of Russian interference in that election…?”


    6. Yes, Hitler was legally appointed to the German Chancellorship in 1933. My reference was to all of the elections afterwards up to 1945, up through WW2 and the Holocaust.

    7. I did not suggest England was responsible for Marxism, only that tolerant, Merrie Olde England gave a safe space to the German philosopher whom the German leaders had rejected.

    8. I didn’t answer Mr. Salemi’s question, because I preferred to focus on Mr. MacKenzie’s poem. “If you can come up with plenty of pseudonyms, surely you can come up with a defense of this [kind of] atrocity.”

    Okay. Here is just one, an unpublished tennos from 2016. If for no other reason, I do think it is incumbent upon poets to record the historical truths of our time, as Damian Robin has recently done in “Organ Harves͡t”.

    For the Memory of Maria Ladenburger (1996-2016)
    by Bleda Ur Ecweis
    “In the beginning there was the Word and not the talk…”
    —Gottfried Benn

    She was last seen when she was cycling home from party fun;
    her body was discovered in the Dreisum in the sun,
    Maria L., in Freiburg, 19, a med-student, who
    had volunteered as helper at a migrant refuge too.
    Her father, an EU official, drowned in misery;
    police identified the suspect on CCTV.
    He was an Afghan Muslim migrant, who perhaps had raped
    and killed one Carolin as well, aged 18. And there draped,
    a black scarf, round that murderer, the night Maria died.
    This hellish murk ‘ll finish off the innocent, one cried.

    I suspect Mr. Salemi might appreciate the pun in line 10, though it is certainly not my overall assessment of the Chancellor.

    9. The word “hmm” here suggests reflection on erroneous assumptions, united with an unwillingness of the speaker to expound. As to “hmm” not being in the work of Aristotle, the greatest logician of all time, I would respond first with “There are more things in heaven and Earth…than are dreamt of in his philosophy…” and secondly, though our native tongues are different, I am fairly sure my vocabulary is larger than Aristotle’s, and I suppose, Mr. Salemi’s is too. That is but one of the exciting things about writing in English.

    10. Finally, lest I seem too brusque in my assessment of Aristotle’s vocabulary. Here is a poem on his legacy, an unpublished dodeca of 2016.

    The Tomb of the Philosopher
    by Erisbawdle Cue

    An archaeologist says he’s found Aristotle’s tomb
    in ancient Stagira, where Aristotle left the womb.
    Konstantinos Sismanidis says there’s no evidence,
    but indications reaching certitude and confidence.

    It’s a reminder of the famed philosopher of old,
    whose logic and whose syllogisms cross this spinning globe,
    who took all knowledge as his college in reality,
    and spawned a vision of the cosmic span’s totality.

    He gazed on topics, from the sciences to social arts,
    his golden meanings shining greater than his many parts.
    Itinerant, meandering, he walked about the World,
    with balance in his virtues, beauty in his truths unfurled.

  30. Joseph Charles MacKenzie

    I quote from an article by Mr. Watson in alt-left tabloid, The Independent, entitled “Hitler and Socialist Dream” and dated november 22, 1998:

    “Hermann Rauschning, for example, a Danzig Nazi who knew Hitler before and after his accession to power in 1933, tells how in private Hitler acknowledged his profound debt to the Marxian tradition. “I have learned a great deal from Marxism” he once remarked, “as I do not hesitate to admit”. He was proud of a knowledge of Marxist texts acquired in his student days before the First World War and later in a Bavarian prison, in 1924, after the failure of the Munich putsch. The trouble with Weimar Republic politicians, he told Otto Wagener at much the same time, was that “they had never even read Marx”, implying that no one who had failed to read so important an author could even begin to understand the modern world; in consequence, he went on, they imagined that the October revolution in 1917 had been “a private Russian affair”, whereas in fact it had changed the whole course of human history! His differences with the communists, he explained, were less ideological than tactical. German communists he had known before he took power, he told Rauschning, thought politics meant talking and writing. They were mere pamphleteers, whereas “I have put into practice what these peddlers and pen pushers have timidly begun”, adding revealingly that “the whole of National Socialism” was based on Marx.”

    And this is only the tip of the scholarly iceberg on tHitler’s Marxism, as whole dissertations have appeared on the topic.

    May I please suggest, Mr. Wise, that you consider learning to research the facts before before parading your ignorance before the general public…

  31. Joseph S. Salemi

    Paul Weston’s commentary is utterly devastating.

    The left-liberal scum who now control Britain (both Tory and Labourite) are truly “the traitor class.”

    As we say in the States, this guy Weston has a set of brass balls. What courage!

    Watch how the multiculturalist scum in Britain now work to destroy the man. Like Tommy Robinson, Weston will be subjected to vicious attacks orchestrated by the government of another sick left-liberal bitch, Theresa May.

    And once again, let me say it — Bruce Dale Wise won’t comment on the thirty-year ongoing rape of white working-class girls in England by Muslim immigrant scum. I guess he’s still trying to figure out what to say.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Oh, he knows precisely what to say: anything that will distract from the question, be it the creation of a major scandal over one word of my poem, or an elaborate change of subject. The predictability of the left is absolute.

  32. Clide Abersuwe

    I think I shall parade my ignorance before the general public, but not comment on the on-going rape of girls in England, leaving only a poem published here @ SCP on June 19, 2018.

    The Imprisonment of Tommy Robinson

    The sea is rough tonight. The tide is full, the moon in doubt.
    The European lights of liberty are going out.
    I’m hearing some reports that Tommy Robinson is jailed,
    for streaming news on Muslim sex slaves, jailed with no bail.

    In just one day he was locked up, and secretly was tried;
    he has been tossed into the slammer, thirteen months confined.
    And no one in the British press could say a thing at all;
    but everywhere the truth broke out, an info waterfall.

    Why was he tried and jailed for reporting on the rapes?
    Has Tommy Robinson been bitten by judicial hate?
    Has England’s legal system, once the envy of the World,
    declined so far its citizens are fodder for misrule?


    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      I wanted to offer you, Mr. Wise, a conciliatory note in saying that the only real shame is in failing to remedy one’s ignorance once it has been exposed. No sooner, however, did I conceive this thought, than you have demonstrated by this latest post a second form of shame: presenting one’s self as a poet without actually being one.

  33. C.B. Anderson

    That’s a wrap, folks. Once someone tries to convince me that “rapes” rhymes with “hate,” or “tried” with “confined,” the game is over. Half-rhymes are simply not enough to overcome the insufficiency of half-truths.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      “Half-truths are not concealed by half-rhymes” should be rendered into an immortal Latin proverb. It strikes at the very heart of the whole modernist movement.

      Even worse, it seems we now have in Mr. Wise a self-made critic who was never a poet.

      Yes, Mr. Anderson:

      “That’s a wrap, folks!”

  34. Clide Abersuwe

    First off, I grant Mr. Anderson that the poem is not that good. I like what it attempts, the opening Arnoldian couplet, the placement of “Tommy Robinson” in the poem, and the concluding couplet with the rhyme “World/misrule”; but other than that the dodeca is marred by hasty balland [sic] writing. Though others may certainly see it differently, for me, one of the least flaws is the rhyme of “judicial hate” to “rapes”.

    I only offered one recent poem because Mr. Salemi stated that I “won’t comment on the thirty-year ongoing rape of white working-class girls in England by Muslim immigrant scum. I guess he’s still trying to figure out what to say.” That is also the only reason I offered the poem on the murder of Maria Ladenburger.

    However, as to Mr. Anderson’s “wrap”, I can repeat myself for those who have not read the Tim Myers’ strand. I like rhyme. Yet the obsession with rhyme in poetry is definitely not Classical. Rhymes (that is, all the different kinds of rhymes) are traditional in English verse, in balladry and song, since the time of great writers, like Geoffrey Chaucer; but poets certainly are not limited to exact rhyme.

    Much of the greatest poetry in English does not rhyme, “Beowulf”, wide swaths of Shakespearean drama, Miltonic epic, Wordworthian musings, etc. One thing I was thinking about today, Shakespeare reaches his greatest poetry outside of rhyme. Since Mr. MacKenzie mentions “Henry V”. Here are four lines, not my favourite at all, but which I would argue, are poetry, though they do not rhyme (nor try to).

    “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
    Or close the wall up with our English dead.
    In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
    As modest stillness and humility…”

    And an example of imperfect rhyme from Dickinson. Here are four lines which I would also call poetry.

    “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
    That perches in the soul—
    And sings the tune without the words—
    And never stops—at all—”

    • James Eliot

      Mr. Abersuwe: To English ears, your poem sounds American whilst MacKenzie’s poem sounds English. I am not one to discuss the merits of American poetry, but can you see how MacKenzie’s Letter to England is more forceful in asserting truth which I believe is what Mr. Anderson is trying to get at? The Letter is getting round on social media where we’ve been seeing it.

  35. Clide Abersuwe

    I agree with Mr. Eliot: “To English ears, your poem sounds American, whilst MacKenzie’s poem sounds English”. And, I would add, that is intentional on both our parts. Mr. MacKenzie utilizes the English tradition in his excellent, iambic pentametre couplets, reminiscent of Shakespeare and Pope, whereas, I am drawing on the British tradition of the ballad form, using Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) and breaking with absolute rhyme. Mr. MacKenzie utilizes heroic echoes of English history, like Arthur, the once and future king, while I am focused on the present state of British law.

    However, I disagree with Mr. Eliot (and peripherally Mr. Anderson, et. al.) when he states that Mr. MacKenzie’s poem is “more forceful in asserting truth”. I do agree Mr. MacKenzie’s poem is more forceful, but not in asserting truth. I need not repeat all of the historical errors of Mr. MacKenzie’s poem, but certainly Mr. Eliot should remember from his history the Battle of Britain was not against the German Marxist, but rather the German Nazi. I am sure the speeches of the great historian and statesman Winston Churchill confirm that.

    Although I am first and foremost an American, I do believe that Winston Churchill, despite all of his flaws, was the greatest statesman of the 20th century. My father, who fought in the Pacific in World War II and in the Korean War, and was himself a deep reader in history, thought the two greatest figures of World War II were Eisenhower and Churchill. Nevertheless, it was English Socialism (Ingsoc), not German Marxists that replaced Churchill from 1945 to 1951.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Dear Mr. Wise,

      You speak of a truth that is a bit higher than mere politics, and that is your dear father surviving the Pacific campaign (which is unimaginable) and also Korea, hardly any more conceivable.

      That higher truth is the grace that leads men to sacrifice for others.

      You are the son of a great man, however ordinary or not so ordinary all great men are. I think my harshness in answering your objections is convicted by that higher virtue, your father’s virtue I apologize to you for that and am very sorry for it.

      In some way, what matters is that we Americans have played a role for so many others throughout the world. My poem should really strike the ears as American, because it, too, albeit in a lesser way to be sure, hopes to come to the aid of others whose condition is now dire.

      May God bless you and all those around you!

  36. James Eliot

    To say, Mr. Abersuwe, that the Nazis were not Marxist, when the very founder of the German Nationalist Socialist German Worker’s Party on myriad occasions either wrote or spoke of his indebtedness to Marx is where I believe your argument collapses. The above quoted article from The Independent is fantastically revealing. Even that does not matter when you consider that every one of Nazism’s doctrines are Marxist. Simply substitute the word volk with proletariat.

    To me, your argument is like saying the Russian front was a battle against Stalinism, not Marxism. As for Churchill, we understand him as a complex figure who lacked in many instances the foresight of history.

    And this, I believe, why Mr. MacKenzie’s Letter to England speaks so profoundly to Britons at this moment.. No one will argue with you about his craftsmanship and I am not here to critique yours, but there is more to his poem than how it’s put together. The Letter to England shares our sense of history.

  37. Clide Abersuwe

    It is absolutely true that I do differentiate between Marxists and nazis, as well as other groups, like communists, socialists, Maoists, and fascists, though I agree with Mr. Eliot that they all show similar statist beliefs.

    In reference to the English-speaking peoples, as relates to Churchill, even when I disagree with him, I feel he had more foresight, in an historical sense, than any figure in the 20th century; for, though he is not my favourite English-speaking historian of the 20th century, he possessed foresight in the approaching cataclysms of the mid-to-later 20th century back in the 1920s.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.