Inauguration photo from 2016.‘Poem for the Second Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump’ by Joseph Charles MacKenzie The Society November 7, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Deconstructing Communism, Poetry, Readings 17 Comments originally published on November 2, 2020 on MacKenzie Lyric Poetry Where shall they hide now, the merchants of death, Who cloaked our eyes and robbed our throats of voice, Who muzzled minds and sought to gag our breath, Who in the blood of innocents rejoice? To whom shall they turn, depravity’s elite, The dream-smashing mobs, despoilers of youth, Now that their toppled gods are obsolete And die in darkness at the dawn of Truth? Against what social order shall they now inveigh? Against what form of right and good renew their fray? They had their century, now we have ours. They had their heaps of human skulls and bones, Their killing fields, their camps, their prison towers, Their burning cities with their no-go zones; They had their vision of mankind made brute, Enslaved by lust and bound by envy’s chains, Deprived of faith, of reason destitute, With poison coursing through their state-owned veins; They had their sunless century of black and grey, Their millions dead, their glut of debt they can’t repay. They had their century, now we have ours. Their purchased poets and their empty bards Will not ring in these times, but waste their hours Repeating vapid phrases, vacant words, Nor will their sages see, nor artists draw The marvels of this age our toils brought forth. Their crafts are guided by no form, no law; Their sky wants stars, their compass lacks a north. It is for us to sing, whom God leads not astray, That we who never feared, old shapes of fear allay. But one man pledged the fortune he possessed To us who cried in silence and in vain, Eschewing pleasure, wealth, foregoing rest, His labors consecrated to our pain. For we had been forgotten, we who keep The dying groans of soldiers in our ears, The dear immortal dead, who gently sleep In time’s soft breast, beyond the flight of years. And he remembered us, and looked on our dismay, This man whose word, once given, he could not betray. And we allowed to slip what made us free, Let laurels wilt upon our heroes’ brows, Confining to the drawers of memory, Their virtues we in hollow words espouse: Our fathers’ sacred faith we failed to live; Our fathers’ castles we have left undone; We learned to take, forgetting how to give, And soon discarded all that they had won. Until one man, whose aye was aye, whose nay was nay, Stood by us, not above us, opening our way. Nor did he scorn our ancient loyalty To God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, To blessed Mary in her royalty, And Christ our King, regarding not the cost; Nor did he blush to say the Holy Name Of Him who by His Cross had saved the world, But to that crown gave reverence the same, In spite of every insult that was hurled, That now we mark our time, our epoch’s dawning ray, To greet, as one, the wonders of the widening day. 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. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 17 Responses Rod Walford November 7, 2020 Joseph……..One of the finest poems I have read for many a year! Congratulations…..particularly on your final verse which is superb. The entire poem is priceless……I just love it! Reply Wren Bruce LC November 7, 2020 Awesome! Reply Sarban Bhattacharya November 8, 2020 Joseph Charles MacKenzie’s poems on the inauguration of President Trump are finest specimens of classical poetry. They are in many ways as grandiloquent as John Dryden’s Tory verse. Reply Joe Tessitore November 8, 2020 My eyes tear as I add my voice to theirs, along with a heartfelt welcome back – it was truly worth the wait. Reply Leo Zoutewelle November 8, 2020 The irresistible beauty of the works of a master poet! Reply Margaret Coats November 8, 2020 Magnificent in form and content, especially the powerful tenderness of the fourth stanza, and the strong affirmations of the last. Reply David Paul Behrens November 8, 2020 This is stunningly magnificent, consistent with every poem I have ever read by Joseph Charles MacKenzie. Reply C.B. Anderson November 8, 2020 I believe, Joseph Charles, that I understand this poem, but, unfortunately things might not have gone as we trusted they would. Now, as Christians we are enjoined to have hope, and you, especially, as a devout Roman Catholic, are required to have hope, but dark forces have routed our expectations. I am not yet willing to cave in to despair, but it’s a close thing. Perhaps there is a greater plan of which we are unaware, and perhaps, even, an ace that our Donald is holding in his hand. I hope that the second inauguration will not prove to be as delayed as the second coming has been, but, really, it’s not for me to say. It was good to hear from you again; you never fail to kindle light in the heart of my soul with words and, a fortiori, The Word. Reply Beate Haddad November 8, 2020 (William Shakespeare would be proud of him.) It’s a gift given by our mighty God and if it’s His Divine Will, Joseph Charles MacKenzie might recite it one day in the White House in front of the elections voted honorably president! Reply Yael November 8, 2020 Very nice! Thank you for sharing, I appreciate you. Reply Beate Haddad November 10, 2020 Susan Jarvis, I would never indulge myself in comparing the bard William Shakespeare to Joseph Charles MacKenzie or any other poet. I’m really sorry that my comment is uncomprehended. I just said in brackets that William Shakespeare would have been proud of him that implicates especially political but the most poetic attitudes. Reply C.B. Anderson November 10, 2020 Susan Jarvis Bryant, Beate, never weighed in on this, so why do you write that your comment was misunderstood. And by the way, those were parentheses, not brackets — brackets look like this: […]. Reply Joe Tessitore November 11, 2020 Thanks, C.B., for weighing in. I was wondering what he was talking about and thought I might have missed something. Joseph Charles MacKenzie November 12, 2020 Dear Friends, I thank you for your comments and wish to return your kindness in sharing my principles with you. You see, I am not and have never aspired to be a formalist. I am a traditional lyric poet. There is a world of difference. In our language of English, Caedmon was first to express the final ends of poetry. I declare these to be the glory of God and conversion of souls. All that arises from principles other than these is not and never will be poetry, but simple prosody. Philosophy, politics, humor, even lewdness and perversion, can all find perfect or imperfect expression in verse, but never in poetry. Poetry is not versified thought or opinion. Poetry is the radiance of God’s word through language ordered by grace collaborating with nature. I stand by this definition which has never been refuted, only rejected by those who are convicted by its truth—the bitter, stale old pretenders of a day that is gone. All good wishes! Joseph Charles MacKenzie Reply Anonymous December 10, 2020 I do not disagree with that which you say, but do you mean by this that all the poetry written by people who do not believe in God is merely “verse”. Again, if you mean this not, I have no trouble with what you say, only curiosity. Reply Leo Zoutewelle November 13, 2020 Now, THAT is food for thought! Thank you, Mr. MacKenzie. Reply Joe Tessitore November 21, 2020 Do you have any thoughts about the future that you’re willing to share? 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