.

Well, you beat the odds against you, though I think you rather knew
That with media assistance, and a counting scheme or two,
There would be a sudden shifting, like a tide, upon a whim,
Moving in the wrong direction—though the odds are mighty slim.

Now your face beams like a beacon, with a smugness immobile;
It appears that we are hostage to your visage for a while;
Not to mention rabid wokeness, and the wrath of censorship
For those folk whose free opinions dare to pass from thought to lip.

Best to batten down the hatches for a journey to ‘The Horn’,
Where the whipped up waves are driven by the salty winds of scorn,
And this sea has little mercy for the literate or right—
All it knows is sheer persistence, and an overbearing might.

Will we make it through unbroken when the current madness calms,
And the public sees the falseness underneath your shallow charms?
When the truth becomes apparent will it be too late to steer
To a place which still may harbor those who hold tradition dear?

.

.

David Watt is a writer from Canberra, the “Bush Capital” of Australia. He has contributed regularly to Collections of Poetry and Prose by Robin Barratt. When not working for IP (Intellectual Property) Australia, he finds time to appreciate the intrinsic beauty of traditional rhyming poetry.


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16 Responses

  1. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    David, thank you very much for this. The second stanza is my favourite, with the these lines as the stand-out triumph; “Not to mention rabid wokeness, and the wrath of censorship/For those folk whose free opinions dare to pass from thought to lip.” I am certain that your insightful closing couplet will be a question on everyone’s lips… soon. Bravo!

    Reply
  2. David Watt

    Thank you Susan. Tradition does seem to be a dirty word these days, and going against the tide frequently leads to disapproval or censorship. Let’s hope that human reason prevails in the long run.

    Reply
  3. Margaret Coats

    The third stanza made me look up Cape Horn to get a better sense of it as your dominant symbol in the last half of the poem. Here you leave Biden behind and focus on the perilous journey to be made. Even though you refer to his “shallow charms” in the fourth stanza, this poem has moved beyond him, to the uncertainty faced by ordinary sailors who have made this chilling voyage, on which so many were lost. Your final question overflows with more uncertainties. Will it be too late? To what place do we steer? Is it a harbor? Will we find anyone there? Dark prospects for the crew rounding “the end of the world”!

    Reply
  4. David Watt

    Hello Margaret. Thank you for your detailed comments.

    I chose Cape Horn precisely because of the risk and uncertainty faced by sailors venturing there. We know that we are also presently in dangerous waters, with the eventual outcome uncertain. You are right in pointing out that I moved beyond Biden, because to me he is merely a figurehead standing on a shifting deck.

    Reply
  5. E. V. Wyler

    You clearly made your point. I love the alliteration of “…Where the whipped up waves … “. Considering how there is a movement to erase aspects of American history and culture, the closing is very powerful. What is the probability we’ll ever have an inaugural poet laureate who writes in traditional forms?

    Reply
    • David Watt

      Thanks for your comments E.V. Unfortunately, the odds are heavily stacked against having a poet laureate writing in traditional forms, at least for the foreseeable future. The erasure, or at least changing of history and culture is also under way in Australia. For example, changes to the wording of the National Anthem in the name of ‘oneness’.

      Reply
  6. Gail Root

    Thank you, sir! Linking literacy to the ability to think critically, if only by the subtlest implication, points up the collusion of the public education system in dismantling traditional–and civil!–society. I’m forwarding this one to my kids; I’ve been telling them to put their heads down, and hang on. Four years–we can make it!

    Reply
    • David Watt

      Hello Gail. I’m so glad you appreciate my linking of literacy to critical thinking. The diminution of language in education consequently weakens the capacity for critical thinking. We’ll see what happens in four years time!

      Reply
      • Gail Root

        Indeed!

        I have to apologize for casting aspersions on the school system in Oz. I should have read your biography–I mistakenly assumed your were resident in America. I know nothing about the schools in Australia, and, so, spoke out of turn.

    • David Watt

      That’s quite alright Gail. The public education system in Australia could also take a lesson in teaching critical thinking.

      Reply
  7. Norma Okun

    HomePoetryCulture
    “Off Cape Horn” by Garnett Charles Morgan
    To Joe Biden: ‘Abiding the Storm’, by David Watt
    The Society January 24, 2021 Culture, Exposing Election Fraud, Poetry 8 Comments
    .

    “Well, you beat the odds against you, though I think you rather knew
    That with media assistance, and a counting scheme or two,
    There would be a sudden shifting, like a tide, upon a whim,
    Moving in the wrong direction—though the odds are mighty slim.

    Now your face beams like a beacon, with a smugness immobile;
    It appears that we are hostage to your visage for a while;
    Not to mention rabid wokeness, and the wrath of censorship
    For those folk whose free opinions dare to pass from thought to lip.

    Best to batten down the hatches for a journey to ‘The Horn’,
    Where the whipped up waves are driven by the salty winds of scorn,
    And this sea has little mercy for the literate or right—”

    I admire your firmness and flexibility as the waves “driven by the salty winds of scorn” such wonderful description of this wobbly sinking ship administration.

    Reply
  8. David Watt

    Hello Norma. The maritime metaphor of a ship in peril intends to show that traditional values are set to face further sustained attacks. It is also true that the new administration is an unsteady vessel.

    Reply
  9. C.B. Anderson

    You Aussies, David, really seem to “get it.” My understanding is that politics down under are suffering certain seismic shifts just as they are here in the USA. I am happy that there is a certain sympathy and solidarity among Anglophones who share not only a language but also a well of shared values. China is at least as great a threat to Australia as it is to America, and the Great Barrier Reef will not be enough to hold off the onslaught of evil any more than will the Bering Strait.

    Reply
  10. David Watt

    C.B., I believe that I am still part of a small minority in Australia who really
    “get it” at this point in time. There is a general dislike of China’s agricultural trade sanctions, but not a lot of thought beyond this issue. An example of our dependency on China is that if Chinese products were to disappear from our major retail outlets, there would be more empty shelves than full. Our island status offers scant protection in a global economy.

    Reply

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