The Fall of the Fourth Estate

a rondeau

The Media: the Fourth Estate*
Performed disgracefully of late:
Delivering the news askew,
Allowing certain viewpoints through
To fuel the discontent and hate.

Campaigning bullies will berate
The citizens and educate
Their friends to start deferring to
The Media.

All politicians propagate
Hypocrisy and subjugate
Constituents with their worldview
While building up their revenue,
And few are eager to negate
The Media.

* “The Fourth Estate” is a term attributed to British politician Edmund Burke in 1787, referring to the press as a political force whose influence is not consistently or officially recognized.




There is this hope they will remember me,
While not with flags half-lowered on the pole,
As someone they would all aspire to be:
A model man—another kindred soul.

Intentions were befouled by circumstance.
Accomplishments seem slight when said aloud.
But when I failed to seize a second chance,
I still survived unbroken and unbowed.

There will be those who mark my death with tears
As substance passes quickly into shade;
I pray they judge my time productive years
And face their circumstances unafraid.

I leave this life to stand before a gate
And pray to God my name’s upon the scroll,
That afterlife may grant a better fate
Than I deserve in judgments of the soul.



The Captain to His Mate

These days I often pause to contemplate
How fortunate I am to share with you
Our struggles overcome which left our fate
Unbroken by the tempests rolling through.
God knows some days we’ve been denied a breeze;
However, we’ve survived the strongest gales
To right the ship and head for calmer seas,
Fair winds be damned as we unfurled the sails.
Until our voyage runs its natural course,
Land-sightings will be few and far between.
No hurricane or like destructive force
Exists to make our journey less serene.
So long as you are with me on this trip,
Survival means I won’t give up the ship.



Randal A. Burd, Jr. is an educator, freelance editor, writer, and poet. His freelance writing includes assignments on the paid writing team for and multiple online blogs, newsletters, and publications. Randal received his Master’s Degree in English Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri. He currently works on the site of a residential treatment facility for juveniles in rural Missouri. He lives in southeast Missouri with his wife and two children.

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4 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson


    All three were simple, clearly understandable and without technical or grammatical irregularities that I could discern. I like a poem I can just read, and not be forced to interpret. In this era of “fake news,” “The Fall …” was the most poignant

  2. Monty

    A bona fide Rondeau, Randal: containing a refreshingly-relevant topic for a poem (as opposed to the standard fare of “The way the sun reflected on the lake”, etc). Well mastered.

    Regarding Humilitas: the word “while” in L2 doesn’t make any sense to me. I also feel that the words ‘they will’ in L1 would read better as ‘that they’ll’; and the words ‘they would’ in L3 would be better as ‘they’d’. I say this because the fact that L2 contains the word ‘not’ would suggest that L3 should begin with the word ‘but’ . . hence the three lines would be clearly saying what you’re trying to convey: ‘not this, but that’. For example:

    There is this hope that they’ll remember me
    Not with a flag half-lowered on a pole,
    But as someone they’d all aspire to be . .

    In L11, I can see that your intention is: “I pray they judge my time (as being) productive years” . . but at first glance, a reader could be forgiven for seeing it as: “I pray they judge my time-productive years”.

    In The Captain: I wouldn’t suggest that it’s strictly necessary to insert a comma after the word ‘overcome’ in L3: but I feel it would certainly assist the reader.
    In L8, the word ‘unfurled’ should be in the present-tense: ‘unfurl’ . . because the words ‘right’ and ‘head’ in L7 are also in the present-tense. ‘Unfurled’ in L8 could only work if the words in L7 were ‘righted’ and ‘headed’.

    Overall, I feel these to be three very well-written pieces; all of which flow with a rich and imaginative use of language . . unforced throughout. It’s evident that you’ve got a natural flair for poetry . . lucky you!


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