On President Trump’s First Year in Office

An earlier version of this poem was published with an explication in The Epoch Times.

In Donald Trump we’ve found a man
Who can the tides of time withstand,
A seasoned duke, of vision strong,
Who sees the picture hard and long.

He knows you can’t rip from our hands
The sacred share we’ve reaped from land,
And call it a progressive tax;
It makes hard work too soft and lax.

No tax can be called good health care
That hopes to make the healthy scared;
Trump’s managed to emancipate
Us from this sick and red-taped fate.

And with tradition’s tempered steel,
And common sense your heart can feel,
He’s fought for babies yet unborn,
And fought against the atheist’s scorn.

Trump’s spoken loud, yes, hugely loud
On communism’s evil shroud
That covers up its darkened soul
That lusts for power and control.

He’s shouted down at Castro’s corpse
While other leaders praised his course;
He’s shouted down at Kim Jung’un—
The feckless fatso’ll soon be done.

He’s taken on the terrorists
Who all throughout the world persist
And thrive on bankrupt evil goals,
Unknowing hell awaits their souls.

He’s standing tall for human rights,
With not just words, but truly bite,
In China and the Middle East,
He won’t be silenced in the least.

These are the currents of our time,
To take them on is a thing sublime,
And not be mired in short term schemes,
Utopian, hedonistic dreams.

And if you disagree with me,
I dare you, write with pen and see
If you can write a charming song
In praise of socialism’s wrong.


Global History Riddles

The city on two continents,
That’s gone by many names before;
I’ll give you just another hint,
The Renaissance came from my shore.
What city am I?

Just like King Arthur in the ages dark,
This storied monarch rose to brilliant fame,
In the year 800, made a spark
When the Pope gave him a royal name.
Who is he?

The British said “Don’t make your salt,
Just buy the salt that we have got.”
He said, “Salt rules are an assault,
So buy your salt I’d rather not,
I’d rather march to sea for salt,
And make my own right on the spot.”
Who is he?

All that I know is that I know nothing
And that a life is worth examining
And that no evil comes to men who’re good
For in time justice cannot be withstood.
Who am I?


Post your answers in the comments section below. 

Evan Mantyk is President of the Society of Classical Poets and teaches literature and history in upstate New York.




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16 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    Bravo Evan!

    You knocked it out of the park with “On President Trump’s First year…”

    Gonna guess ‘Constantinople’ for the first riddle – still struggling with the others.

  2. Lorna Davis

    Constantinople, Charlemagne, Gandhi and Plato.

    But Trump? Ugh. You know I appreciate all that you’ve done for classical poetry, Mr. Mantyk, but I still have to disagree with you on this one. If he really follows through and uses the Magnitsky Act to help the followers of Falun Gong, I will happily give him credit for that. But his destruction of environmental protections is hard to forgive. Some damage will take a long, long time to undo.

    Just a quick verse on political systems, if I may:

    A beneficent king makes a monarchy great;
    Being ruled by a bad one is not a good fate.
    A CEO’s power is near-absolute;
    Without laws, his products can be poisoned fruit.
    To want a fair system, and not a dictator,
    Does not make me leftist or commie or hater.
    All systems are evil when run by a tyrant,
    And using brute force to make people compliant.
    I’ve really grown weary of left and right chatter.
    We need a new system where human lives matter.
    This argument’s pulling our country apart.
    We need a new name for a system with heart.

    • Lenore

      For me, both Evan’s and Lorna’s comments have merit…using words to give credit where credit is due and also commenting on what needs to be improved.

  3. James A. Tweedie

    1, “Boss, pour us another, but no cider, please, I can’t stand an apple.”
    2. Charlie’s main complaint concerned Roll and his oliphant who, in the end, blew it.”
    3. A small naked giant who outlasted the greatest power on the face of the earth.
    4. David painted a really cool picture and put him smack dab in the center, holding what is most certainly not a loving cup.

    • Leonard Dabydeen

      I do appreciate your stand on the President, but the eye is blind to his humanitarian tracks. Please permit me to add my take with this poem:

      Shithole in the Act – By Leonard Dabydeen

      (An Experimental satirical Sonnet in iambic pentameter, written in Caribbean-style local (creole) English and standard English – based on the de facto current political events in America.)


      What this President say ‘bout yuh country

      That it’s a shithole and yuh come from dat,

      Is but a racist gaffe for yuh and me;

      And this is how he thinks, no matter what.

      But yuh know chutney sang say, ‘Mudda Count’;

      He don’t know what he say, ‘cause he lying

      Even when he twitter media account,

      And mix-up dis Russian interferin’.

      He don’t like blacks, Muslims, and Mexicans,

      He hate them like yuh never seen before;

      And he wants to deport all the Haitians,

      And build wall to keep coloureds out the door.

      That his time is short, a matter of fact;

      He is a shithole, something in the act.

      Please read:

      “mudda” refers to ALL the pernicious, vulgar, racist innuendos echoed by Donald Trump (once my model on real estate deals). The “count” is continuing.


      • Joe Tessitore

        He promised during the campaign to do more for people of color in his first year than President Obama did in eight years.

        Employment and home ownership among people of color are at historic highs since he took office.

        Actions really do speak louder than words.

  4. Evan

    Thank you, Joe, Ben, Lorna, and James…

    Joe was first to get the first, Lorna jumped in an answered them all in one fell swoop… or so it seemed. James’ perplexing and brilliant answers in riddle form leads me to believe that he has the answer I was looking for in No. 4… (Lorna’s answer may technically be correct as well, I should say)

    Finally, thank you to Lorna for the beautiful poem in response… The Heart Party sounds strange and care bear-ish, but The Beneficent Party has a nice ring to it.

    Thank you, Leonard. My impression from extensive reading is that he is not racist in the least. His use of hyperbole and colorful language is perhaps reckless, though some might say genius.

    • Brice U. Lawseed

      On the US Presidency
      by Brice U. Lawseed
      “It takes a genius,”
      —Rudolph Muller, as Pierre Luigi in The Pink Panther

      “…to President of the United States (on my first try)…”
      American Prez Donald Trump thinks he “would qualify
      not smart, but genius…and a very stable genius…” too.
      His tweet held by the Main Stream Media in ridicule.
      And yet he has a point. By going up against them all—
      Republicans and Democrats—with feisty folderol—
      he managed to attain the ranks of US Presidents,
      no military or political accoutrements.
      We know that power can corrupt and absolutely so;
      but now we know that wealthy entertainers make good show.

      Brice U. Lawseed is a poet of Washington DC and its environs.

  5. James A. Tweedie

    For those who may be scratching their heads:

    1. “Boss, pour us” = Bosporus “can’t stand an apple” = Constantinople
    2. “Charlie’s main” = Charlemagne “Roll and oliphant”=Roland and his horn
    3. Gandhi and the British Empire
    4. Reference to Jacques-Louis David’s painting, “Death of Socrates”

  6. James Sale

    A fearless poem on Trump from Evan. It is difficult as an outsider to evaluate a national leader, though of course being President of the USA he is also our leader – that is, of the free West. Certainly, in the UK virtually all the ‘intelligentsia’ – AKA, media – are anti-Trump. For myself, I would have voted Trump over Hilary, had I been an American, and I would still do that today. Trump’s vices have always been overt; Hilary’s are covert and deceptive, and I prefer the former. And like Evan, I don’t consider him a racist – but certainly, a provocateur! But what I find difficult now about him is really psychological, and pathological, for as we know from Sherlock Holmes: it’s in the small details that everything is revealed, not necessarily the big policies, strategies or lack of them. So what disturbs me about Trump is his seeming inability to allow totally inconsequential people – that is, you and I, the public – to have the last word, to win a point, to reach a compromise. This constant need to beat up nobodies and prove them wrong I find worrying … But enough said – thanks Evan for getting us thinking about this important person through your poetry.

  7. Joseph S. Salemi

    Trump comes from Queens County, my own borough of New York City. We all talk the way he does, and we are proud of it.

    And yes, I call many Third-World places “shitholes,” because that is exactly what those places are. That’s also why the people living in those shitholes want to come here.

  8. bret mantyk

    Ev I disagree with basically all of the facts you infer re: Trump. But what can I say! Your verses are still catchy. Some are even downright tasty. And any verse that starts with “And if you disagree with me” is the attitude that makes folks want to read your work (me at least). So well done.


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