by Caud Sewer Bile

A deep state run by rulers lacking thought,
a young, unschooled, and mad mob living low,
corruption’s muddy rivers running hot,
a lapdog mainstream media in tow,
a land where thugs promote liberticide,
a censoring of varied points of view,
an honoured constitution tossed aside,
where doped-up hordes support the latest coup,
the Bible sealed, science unrefined,
where foreign spies abound at every turn,
the human race divided by the blind,
the worst drugged up with passion, and they burn:
these are the elements this land supplies
from which a Goolag-Moloch may arise.




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9 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    This poem is strong and accurate. I am only sorry the state of things in 2019 has made it necessary to write it. Our leadership is such to cause despair.

    The word liberticide,, which I assume is your own clever invention, is something with which I concur one hundred percent.

    Line 9, the Bible sealed, science unrefined,, is perfect if the word :sealed is meant to have two syllables; i.e.
    Seal-ed. This gives it a stern, archaic ring. But if not, in my opinion, the one syllable wording spoils the meter of a strong poem.

    In any case, thanks for putting it up ! I hope many will read it and concur, as I do.

    • Caud Sewer Bile

      It is interesting to me that the two words Ms. Cook brings up both come from Percy Bysshe Shelley, and I wanted to use them in this poem for that reason. I have always felt that liberty and freedom were most strongly felt in English writing during the PreRomantic and Romantic periods (1770-1850); Shelley’s work, and here his use of “liberticide”, is just one instance. Instead of “sealed” I had used closed, shut up, etc., until I finally settled on sealed, which I do use as two syllables here at the caesura. I am impressed that Ms. Cook brilliantly notes the very reason I used it: it “gives it a stern archaic ring”.

      • Monty

        How many syllables are there in the word ‘field’? I rest my case.

  2. Peter Hartley

    Bruce – a very powerful poem this, and it might equally have applied to the UK. The only thing missing for me would be a helpful grave accent on the second “e” of “sealed”. The image of the Goolag Moloch is a very strong one for the last line, and the whole poem reminds me of Oscar Wilde’s words, “America is the only nation that has gone from barbarism to decadence without an intervening civilisation,” (or words to that effect). The word “only” is the single one of Wilde’s that I would cavil at, as again it could equally apply to the UK among several others. A very fine and well-constructed sonnet.

    • Caud Sewer Bile

      What power the poem has comes mainly from Shelley’s framework. As Mr. Hartley may be aware I am not that fond of the sonnet now; but, as in the case of “On the Whistleblower: What Is His Name?”, the form adamantly suggested itself on the material. As to the marking of the accent of “sealed”; I don’t mean sealèd, I mean sē­əld. Whereas Shelley envisioned a glorious Phantom bursting forth from the ills of England to illumine his tempestuous day, I have imagined here (more in the manner of George Orwell) a Monster (deriving from Leviticus, Milton and Ginsberg, inter alia, as well as a gargantuan Socialist Technocratic Prison) from such ills arising in America. Note: both Shelley’s and my visions are subjunctive.

  3. Joe Tessitore

    I do indeed concur with Sally and Peter.
    The appalling state of things in 2019 makes me wonder if it’s possible to be poetic about anything else.

  4. Caud Sewer Bile

    In reference to Mr. Tessitore’s comment, I would say there are many things to write about in the New Millennium, not least of which would be those things which most strike the writer. The number, and the depth of the topics available, is enormous—more than enough for all of the millions of writers presently writing.

    As to why this Shelleyan sonnet reminds Mr. Hartley of the quote from Wilde, I cannot say. It is definitely intriguing. Both, I suppose—Wilde with his Wit and Shelley with his Wind!—channeled dramatic forces. As to the joke itself, which I very much like, to a certain degree, America has always been in a state of barbarism (as I suppose the rest of the World’s nations are as well), which may, from a positive standpoint, suggest energy, dynamism, power, etc.

    Of interest is the following sonnet by Wilde, “The Grave of Shelley”:

    Like burnt-out torches by a sick man’s bed
    Gaunt cypress-trees stand round the sun-bleached stone;
    Here doth the little night-owl make her throne,
    And the slight lizard show his jeweled head.
    And where the chaliced poppies flame to red,
    In the still chamber of yon pyramid
    Surely some Old-World Sphinx lurks darkly hid,
    Grim warder of this pleasaunce of the dead.
    Ah! sweet indeed to rest within the womb
    Of Earth, great mother of eternal sleep,
    But sweeter far for thee a restless tomb
    In the blue cavern of an echoing deep,
    Or where the tall ships founder in the gloom
    Against the rocks of some wave-shattered steep.

  5. B. S. Eliud Acrewe

    “America in 2019” draws its inspiration from Shelley’s “England in 1819”.

    Structurally the poems look the same; they are both sonnets. But the rhyme schemes differ. Shelley uses abababcdcdccdd. His structure contributes to the meaning of the poem. By placing the sestet atop the octave, Shelley suggests England is out of kilter. He also ends with a double couplet to hit home his point. In “America in 2019” Caud Sewer Bile used a regular English sonnet with a rhyme scheme of ababcdcdefefgg.

    The author, like Shelley, starts listing a series of what he finds in the America of 2019: a deep state (where elected officials and bureaucrats in government agencies plot against others), vile, uneducated mobs, corruption rampant, a dishonest mainstream media, brutal, anarchic thugs, censoring by tech companies, anticonstitutionalists, hordes cheering on disruptions, people drugged up, Christianity persecuted, science more political than intellectual, infiltrated foreign spies, and the human race divided up into ethnic identities.

    L12, “The worst drugged up with passion, and they burn…” echoic of Yeats’ “the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity…” finishes the list with the outrage culture.

    The final couplet differs from Shelley’s sonnet in an important way. Whereas Shelley has made his list and imagines that a “glorious Phantom may/ Burst to illumine [his] tempestuous day, Caud Sewer Bile envisions a more sinister situation. That out of his list a “Goolag Moloch” may rise, suggesting, like Allen Ginsberg in “Howl”, a horrifying nightmarish gulag, a technological concentration camp.

  6. Caud Sewer Bile

    B. S. Eliud Acrewe was correct to note the allusion to Yeats’ “The Second Coming” in L12. In the first draft L12 was even closer to Yeats original line: “the worst ‘filled’ up with passion”. The reason for the allusion to Yeats poem was, because written in 1919, it was one century after “England in 1819” and one century before “America in 2019”; and it seemed to be the best poem to allude to given the nature of the poems’ visions.


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