Pibroch of the Domhnall


By Joseph Charles MacKenzie

Author’s Notes:

§ The refrains at the end of each stanza are to be recited by the Inaugural crowd.
§ A Pibroch is a rallying bagpipe tune and is pronounced like “PEA-brohgh.”
§ Domhnall, the Scottish form of the name Donald, is pronounced like “TONE-all”
§ Torquil was the royal progenitor of the MacLeods of Lewis, the outer hebridean island and birthplace of President Trump’s immigrant mother, Mary Anne MacLeod.

Come out for the Domhnall, ye brave men and proud,
The scion of Torquil and best of MacLeod!
With purpose and strength he came down from his tower
To snatch from a tyrant his ill-gotten power.
Now the cry has gone up with a cheer from the crowd:
“Come out for the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!”

When freedom is threatened by slavery’s chains
And voices are silenced as misery reigns,
We’ll come out for a leader whose courage is true
Whose virtues are solid and long overdue.
For, he’ll never forget us, we men of the crowd
Who elected the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

When crippling corruption polluted our nation
And plunged our economy into stagnation,
As self-righteous rogues took the opulent office
And plump politicians reneged on their promise,
The forgotten continued to form a great crowd
That defended the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

The Domhnall’s a giver whilst others just take,
Ne’er gaining from that which his hands did not make.
A builder of buildings, employing good men,
He’s enriched many cities by factors of ten.
The honest and true gladly march with the crowd
Standing up for the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

True friend of the migrant from both far and near,
He welcomes the worthy, but guards our frontier,
Lest a murderous horde, for whom hell is the norm,
Should threaten our lives and our nation deform.
We immigrants hasten to swell the great crowd
Coming out for the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

Academe now lies dead, the old order rots,
No longer policing our words and our thoughts;
Its ignorant hirelings pretending to teach
Are backward in vision, sophomoric in speech.
Now we learnèd of mind add ourselves to the crowd
That cheers on the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

The black man, forgotten, in poverty dying,
The poor man, the sick man, with young children crying,
The soldier abroad and the mother who waits,
The young without work or behind prison gates,
The veterans, wounded, all welcome the crowd
That fights for the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

Whilst hapless old harridans flapping their traps
Teach women to look and behave like us chaps,
The Domhnall defends the defenseless forlorn;
For, a woman’s first right is the right to be born.
Now the bonnie young lassies that fly to the crowd
Have a champion in Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

But for all his great wisdom, the braw gallant man
Is matched by his children, the handsome Trump clan,
And the flower of Europe, Melania the fair,
Adds a luster and grace with her long flowing hair.
May they flourish and prosper to form a great crowd
Around the good Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

Is there man left in Scotland, without base alloy,
Who remembers the Wallace, the Bruce, or Rob Roy?
Or have five hundred years of a blasphemous lie
Robbed your manhood of might that you lay down and die?
Get up and walk free, all ye brave men and proud!
Long life to the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!


© Joseph Charles MacKenzie, all rights reserved

Joseph Charles MacKenzie is the first and last American to win First Place in the Long Poem Section of the Scottish International Poetry Competition, Henry M. Austin Poetry Prize.


(The views expressed in individual poems on this website do not reflect those of the Society. The Society does not endorse political candidates.)



Gentle Readers,

I am very pleased to announce that a magnificent Scottish voice has agreed to make a recording of what has become known throughout the world as “Mr. Trump’s Inaugural Poem”—quite possibly the most widely read poem in British-American circles at this moment. I hereby release it to the general public for its enjoyment and edification. If I must accept the title of “Inaugural Poet” from the hands of History herself, no more intending to wear this mantle than Mr. Trump initially intended to bear upon his shoulders that of President of our nation, know that I accept it in deepest humility and gratitude to all those who have supported my endeavor, in particular Mr. Evan Mantyk, the brilliant, young editor of the Society of Classical poets. Contrary to rumors—the fruit, no doubt, of great excitement at the appearance of so novel a work—my poem, alas, is not to be read at the official ceremonies of Inauguration. For, Providence has arranged that the “Inaugural Poem,” rather than descending from the pretentious podium of an academic elite, should arise instead from the hearts of those Forgotten Men and Women standing upon the solid earth of their convictions. For, I am one of the Forgotten Men, a worker who knows too well life’s common struggle. In offering the gift of the “Inaugural Poem” to that courageous gentleman who clearly deserves the homage of the muse, and as my financial circumstances prevent me from attending the Inauguration of the very subject of my poem, may I please invite those assisting at this happy event to share in my absence the “Pibroch to the Domhnall” with the Inaugural Crowd whose diverse members are also celebrated in my rhymes. Thank you, Scotland, birthplace of song, for the lilt of my verses, and for the large and generous character of the world’s new leader. Congratulations, Mr. President!


Joseph Charles MacKenzie


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88 Responses

      • J.L.S

        This poem wasn’t perfect but I quite liked the meter and I’m glad someone at least gave a shot at giving Trump a poem.

      • Gene in L.A.

        J.L.S. Except for the repeated “refrain,” it’s the precise meter and rhyming scheme of “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” Very lofty indeed!

      • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

        The ignorant, state-schooled, unbooked and anti-literary left has evidently never heard of Lord Byron’s “Destruction of Sennacherib,” Sir Walter Scott’s “Farewell to MacKenzie,” or several other time-honored sources for the meters and rhythms of the “Pibroch of the Domhnall.”

        I suppose we’re lucky they can even read Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” especially as St. Nicholas was a veritable “Hammer of the Heretics” at the Council of Nicea.

    • Waverock

      Great job! I feel your poetry is very evocative and conveys a feeling, or sensibility, really well. Regretfully I see many negative comments. If people are moved by a poem and engage with it and get a true feeling of what the poem expresses, the poet has done their job. It is not neccessary that the reader shares the same political persuasion. Its also not neccessary for art to be a echo chamber for our pre existing views ; )

      • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

        Oh yes, absolutely. There is the appreciation of a fine poem simply for what it is. I have no sympathies with Byron’s politics, but can appreciate his work for what it is.

  1. Michelle T Simon

    Well done! I smiled throughout because I took it as a tongue-in-cheek kinda thing. My apologies if you were actually being serious.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Oh yes, your response is quite natural. Already we have that Scottish rhythm and, indeed, the whole decor of Sir Walter Scott’s world. I greatly appreciate that you were able to find a certain levity in my poem, as my themes are the very opposite of light. Indeed, I aimed for a poem that would be “souriant” as opposed to grave, even if my content reflects the troubles into which our nation has descended of late. The structure is actually quite complex, so I wanted the reader not to get lost in the depths, but rather enjoy the apparent seamlessness of the whole. So no apologies necessary as your smile is just exactly what I had hoped to achieve. We Americans need a bit of relief from our woes and divisions, so a bit of levity is something we can all of us appreciate at this time. Past inaugural poems have been pretentiously serious and stiff, even bureaucratic and, because modernist, utterly boring.

      • Rebecca

        I seldom find a poem that I do not like and the cadence of yours is good, however I’m deeply troubled by the content. Is it satire? Is it going to be read at the inauguration? Would you mind clarifying?

      • william van Deusen

        I absolutely loved it and only wish that I had the talent and skill to have written it! I and many true American people who want truly to see him bring our country back to greatness hope this is the first of many to come celebrating his successful leadership!

      • Lorna Davis

        To Mitchel Ahern: just for the record, the sentiments expressed in this poem are not shared by all of the poets on this site. Please don’t lump us together. Like any loose-knit group of human beings, we have diverse beliefs and opinions. This “hapless old harrigan” believes without apology that women should look and behave in whatever fashion they choose, just like the other half of humanity. And just for the record, I can’t imagine lauding a man whose fortune was built on bilking workers, sub-contractors and debtors out of money owed to them. Just because a thing is legal does not make it ethical, honorable or moral. For a wealthy man to file bankruptcy multiple times while still continuing to be wealthy is a shameful thing. I can’t see “the Domnhall” as anything other than utterly unworthy of the office he’s about to be sworn into. For the sake of my country (and the planet), I sincerely hope my perception of the danger he represents is wrong.

      • NancyN

        Pay no attention to the trolls. You can tell how good it is by how much they hate it. I loved your poem and passed it on. Women need to be freed from the “hapless old harridans flapping their traps,” especially because “a woman’s first right is the right to be born.”

    • Alan W. Jankowski

      What Michelle said actually…I agree it was well done, but I too found a certain levity in the verse…then again, I tend to find a certain levity in most everything…

  2. Amy Foreman

    Superb Pibroch, Joseph! Love the Scottish sound of the triple meter! A delightfully anti-PC rallying cry!

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      SCP is truly a movement which allows us to explore the freedom, and not just the restraints, of traditional poetry. I am grateful to be part of a true “milieu” which inspires me to explore new areas of creativity.

  3. Dona Fox

    Delightful choice of words, meter, everything. I was with wee modest Crimson tipped flowers in my mouth (I know I’ve not gone for the accent there, forgive me, I’m on the treadmill). I’ll be looking for more of your poetry, I’m sure you have a link, a book, more on here ….

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Ha, ha, ha! I love that my poem can be enjoyed on a treadmill (also a sober reminder that I need to acquire this virtue of exercise)! As for your question about my other verses, I have just posted http://www.mackenziepoet.com where you may actually hear some. Veteran British stage actor Ian Russell has just completed his recording of my sonnets and these are now being remastered (so not yet available but soon). As you will find, I am primarily a traditional lyric poet: https://mackenziepoet.com/

  4. Dona Fox

    I should have been warned not to listen to your sonnets on the treadmill as they brought me to my knees. Thank you, Sir.

  5. Kenneth Kyntale

    Only a man with great literary breadth and a knowledge of literary history could have pulled this off. This is THE presidential inaugural poem if ever there was one!

    • Lynne

      Amen, Gene in LA. Rather common for dictators and despots to hire court troubadours to sing their praises. Just one more part of the propaganda machine. Alas, as always, Trump demonstrates his lack of character and class by having a poem about him rather than the greatness of this nation or people.

      • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

        You are misreading the poem through your ideological programming, received, no doubt, from a government-controlled “education” in the public school system.

    • Bobby Frost

      The land was Trumps before we were the land’s.
      She was Trump’s land more than a hundred years
      Before we were Trump’s people. She was Trump’s
      In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
      But we were Trumps, still colonials,
      Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
      Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
      Something we were withholding made us weak
      Until we found out that it was ourselves
      We were withholding from our land of living,
      And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
      Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
      (The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
      To the land vaguely realizing westward,
      But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
      Such as she was, such as she would become.

  6. Blake Elliott

    “Whilst hapless old harridans flapping their traps
    Teach women to look and behave like us chaps… ”

    I have few words, too busy laughing. And as a descendant of Elliot Scottish warriors, I appreciated the Scottishness.

  7. Clide Abersuwe

    A lively, clever, and excellent handling of anapestic tetrameter. Kenneth is right; this is the unprecedented, presidential inaugural poem.

  8. Paul Thomas Glass

    (You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be
    made salty again?) – Matthew 5:13

    Let US be America
    Let us herald a New World’s way
    Be harbinger to all who cast aspiring eyes
    Toward these shores and their wondrous tidings
    A harbor indeed for those tempest-tost
    So weary and wretched Let us be
    Haven and hearth which by Heaven’s decree
    Is terminus here in America

    And let US be met by those blessings of Fortune
    That we who’ve sown seeds in these rich, fertile soils
    Are assured of then reaping as an ample reward
    Bestowed upon All righteous husbandry
    Indeed trusting of evermore bountiful harvests
    For OUR children to glean Let us be
    Pledged they will garner the magnificent legacy
    Once testament here in America

    Then let US now build that shining-city long sought
    It/Home to a most remarkable people
    They hold Justice as a father his dearest child
    Liberty as an infant Its mother’s milk
    Who are fearless, forthright and utterly faithful
    To their tending posterity May WE Be Thus INDEED
    A marvelous beacon which ALL Ages may heed
    As/Hence tantamount here in America

    So let us waste not, want not
    Nor wander afar from Our great nation’s
    most glorious Dream –
    THIS (pray God) Let US be

  9. Christine Tessitore



    • PTG (Paul Thomas Glass)

      Please see below PTG (Paul Thomas Glass). And share my poem with anyone and everyone you will.

    • PTG (Paul Thomas Glass)

      RIGHT HERE — PTG (Paul Thomas Glass)

      “Let Us Be America” is located directly above Christine Tessitore’s entry.

      And please: SHARE MY POEM!!!

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      In many ways, Maya Angelou was a victim of modernism, crippled by its mind-shackling dogmata.

  10. PTG

    It was supposed to be. And it is I who have learned MORE than one lesson from Maya Angelou (may she be in God’s arms). Please, Ms. Tessitore, I beg you: share my poem with anyone and everyone you will.

  11. David Dietle

    Obama received the popular and electoral vote, but sure “Ill gotten”

    • Copyleft

      I was wondering about that one too… Is it standard to just call any elected official you dislike a “tyrant with ill-gotten power”?

      • Gene in L.A.

        Whether it is or not is less pertinent than that it perfectly describes Trump.

      • Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

        In Bardic poetry it is, the Kings Bard would laud whether merited or not the Kings achievements or powers, and insult beyond reason his opponents and detractors…

        I didnt see Obama as a tyrant myself, though many from Iraq to Libya would beg to differ not to mention Palestine, but it wouldnt be for the reasons the poet here calls him so.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      “Ill gotten” because Obama did not inform the American people during his 2009 campaign that his idea of “transforming” America actually meant destroying it, or that he was, as history now shows, a Jihadi implant at the beck and call of Tehran.

  12. Caroline

    Well, if academe wasn’t dead before this poem was written, it certainly is now. Yiiiiiiiikes.

    • Copyleft

      That’s another puzzler. Why on earth would “academe lies dead” be something to cheer for?

      • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

        Because, for over half a century, state-funded, government controlled academia has been a mere instrument of Marxist indoctrination on behalf of the Democratic Party.

    • Huckleberry

      If Emmeline Grangerford could make poetry like that, there ain’t no telling what she could a done by-and-by.

  13. Michael

    Ha! Ha! Well, you’ve penned a work that is perfect for the occasion*.

    *not a compliment

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      When one of your “works” is shared over 34,000 times on one of the UK’s most popular London dailies, as was the “Pibroch for the Domhnall,” then perhaps your comment will be something more—but not much more—than impertinent.

  14. C Humphrey

    A pibroch is also a funeral song played on the pipes. Good use of double-entendre there.

  15. Amy Foreman

    I disagree with you, Jeremy, not just in your view of this poem, but probably also in your definition of beauty and grace. Notice, however, that my disagreement does not lead to my vilifying you or trotting out the “f-bomb.”

    As you say, “[w]e’re still allowed to have opinions.” But it would be nice if the Wonkette crowd could show a bit more class as they share those opinions with us.

  16. Lebudias Crewe

    “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
    Martin Luther King, Junior.

  17. Friedrich Nietzsche

    The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies, but also to hate his friends.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Nietzsche, a pseudo-philosopher, was diagnosed with manic-depressive illness with periodic psychosis followed by vascular dementia. He had very often contemplated suicide. Perhaps you wish to follow his “philosophy” to its natural conclusion?

  18. Douglas Forasté

    What’s the difference between Mick Jagger and a Scottish farmer.

    Mick says, “Hey, you, get offa my cloud.”

    The Scottish farmer says, “Hey, MacLeod, get offa my ewe.”

    the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

  19. Edna St. Vincent Millay

    It seems as if MacKenzie has hit a raw nerve. There is no doubt that Wallace Stevens was less metrical than MacKenzie.

  20. Eric Yauerbach

    I must say your poem here reminds me very much of the work of Julia A. Moore, whose poem on Andrew Jackson I think it would be most apposite to quote here in full:

    On the life of Andrew Jackson,
    Now dear people I will write,
    And in sketches, I will tell you
    His career with great delight.
    His career on earth is ended;
    But his name is ever bright,
    And his memory is cherished
    As a great glorious knight.
    The early life of Andrew Jackson,
    Its marked in high renown,
    As a lover of his country
    He proved steadfastly profound,
    Through kind teaching of his mother,
    That patriot lady brave;
    His mind strengthened by her wisdom,
    Ere she sank into her grave.

    Ah, in manhood, Andrew Jackson,
    Was a daring fearless man;
    With a strong iron will commanding,
    He was loved throughout our land.
    He was kind and generous hearted
    In his military acts,
    Yet was stubborn, while commanding,
    And no courage did he lack.

    At middle age, Andrew Jackson
    Was a noble warlike man,
    And was capable of handling
    The army at his command.
    You can see it by the battles
    Of his Indian campaign,
    Or the battle of New Orleans,
    Where so many men were slain.

    The dauntless energy of Jackson,
    Oh, should never be forgot,
    Or the battle of New Orleans,
    Where he diligently fought.
    Where he fought to save his country,
    From the British fleets of fame;
    Through coolness and courage
    The victory he did gain.

    As commander, Andrew Jackson
    Was a soldier of great skill,
    And he nobly done his duty
    To his country, with good will.
    Yet in life his acts were censured,
    Ah, by men both great and small.
    One the acts that made him trouble
    Was the arresting of Judge Hall.

    Oh, that act cost Andrew Jackson
    Many heart pang in after life,
    For he thought it was his duty
    In that hard cruel strife
    That his soldiers should obey him
    And fulfill every command,
    As he knew no other method,
    He could save his native land.

    The people loved Andrew Jackson,
    “Old Hickory” was their friend.
    As a President o’er our country
    He proved faithful to the end.
    His career on earth was ended
    Eighteen Forty Five; is seen
    As a star his name is shining
    The “hero” of “New Orleans.”

  21. Sabine

    Thank you so much, good Sire, for bringing us all, this night of doom and shadows and grim forebodings, a good laugh and smile to see us through til morning. Yours is surely the best attitude and antidote, the eve of the day when the evil Jester takes the throne, to not forget that he is a Jester still, that we should laugh, not cry, at his antics, and that ours is the powers in his tiny hands, but a loan, but a loan. Thank you, really!! <3

  22. Carolyn Clark

    I do appreciate the spirit of generosity
    shown towards this poem
    which has traditional meter and commendable historical imagination
    but reflects neither an understanding of America’s long seeded woes
    nor empathy for the depth of very real fears present
    on this the eve of presidential transition.

  23. Lothar Geldbeutel

    This is the best poem I’ve read since “The Tay Bridge Disaster”!

  24. Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

    It is quite the bardic tradition all right though it is totally against my politics… in the old style it features the strong points as the king would like them seen, and insults his adversaries…

    The rollicking rhyme is something else, very enjoyable, but alas I am working on a retort to it!!!

    As you will have seen in my writings the Don is not my favourite character at all, as I see at best a return to the pre Kennedy WASP America which will be brilliant… for some, but not us…

    Again as a poem, and as a poet who put his heart into it, kudos, its just not my politics that’s all!

  25. The Society

    Another consideration for the inaugural poem…


    By Quinn Kobrin

    Why do we fly the flags half-mast?
    I think it means something now it didn’t in the past.
    What once was a symbol of grief and respect,
    Now represents hatred, blindness, neglect
    For others, and the lives that are taken.
    I think somewhere along the line, someone was mistaken.
    Our country is caught in the midst of a storm.
    Since when did grief become the new norm?
    Flying a lowered flag was a sign of hurt pride,
    As mentioned above, respect for those who died,
    And their loved ones who kneeled at their side and cried
    For the future guaranteed which now is denied.
    But for nearly a month now when I go outside,
    I’ve seen this symbol of fallen pride.
    Each day is filled with grief and despair.
    You can feel the hatred rise in the air.
    The streets are full of strengthening tension.
    Why can’t everyone just pay attention?
    With every day lost, we increase the cost,
    The cost of the peace we so desperately want.
    We spend so much time grieving, hating and blaming
    When we should be uniting, together reclaiming
    This country we fought so fervently for.
    The time to sit back and take it’s no more!
    Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t mourn a lost brother,
    But mourning is one thing, giving up is another.
    And flying our flags half mast each day,
    Feels like we’re mourning a death on it’s way.
    The death of us, this country, our nation.
    It’s like we grieve in anticipation.
    But now is the day to bring that mourning to an end.
    We must all come together, as a people, as friends,
    And raise this nation to what it was meant to be:
    The home of the brave and the land of the free.

    • Martha Coyote

      Ceremonial Poetry

      It is no longer the thing
      to write poems in praise of the Pope,
      [or the King or the Shah or the Tsar]
      quite respectful,
      and elegantly traditional.

      Quite as well,

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      In fact, the poem has many admirers on both sides of the increasingly vapid political dualism.

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  27. Akin Jeje

    While my politics are more left than the majority of the respondents here, I commend the poet for his eloquence and use of language reminiscent of Tennyson, Walter Scott and Andrew Lang. It is a fine poem, sir. I may not agree with Mr. Trump or his politics, but I believe poets of all political persuasions may speak with each other and with various audiences through verse rather than vitriol.

    With regards to issues of traditional metre and rhyme structures, that re-invokes the perennial controversy between traditional forms of poetry and contemporary experimentation, but I suppose that will be another discussion. Well done again, sir.


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