O, Brother

Surveillance permeates us now,
__George Orwell saw it coming.
Stamped social credits mark our brow,
__the cityscape is humming,

The virus hum, the wifi hum,
__a background, humdrum silence,
Something wicked here has come,
__evil backed by violence.

Not private now nor personal,
__each facial line’s a password—
More database than physical—
__where living dead are transferred.

But bright ones rise with sanity,
__grow strong through sane resistance—
We show the truth compassionately,
__gain traction with persistence.

The cloned officials’ work naps numb,
__watched back while they sit watching.
Good people’s acts can overcome
__The evil’s script we’re scotching.



Damian Robin is a writer and editor living in the United Kingdom.

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10 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    A very incisive poem, Damian. I think I’ve mentioned this little known quote from ‘1984’ before, but it’s very pertinent since it foresees the mobile phone:

    “With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end.”

    Ironically, we’ve ended our own privacy through mind-numbing social media.

    Thanks for the read.

    • Paul Freeman

      Meanwhile, a murderer in Australia is caught through ‘a combination of CCTV footage and GPS tracking’.

      Once again, a very thought-provoking piece of writing.

    • Damian Robin

      Thank you a lot, Paul.

      A difficulty pops up when we say ‘we’ about some of these techno-strosities.

      I and you can be ‘we’ but not the we who devised tictoq and Facebook etc. Like it was said about radio or tv – we can switch it off. Mobile phones can be just phones. Computers can be mega typewriters and research tools. It’s a way to go. Though the road may be long and we may stumble, we can make small steps — about which we need not be humble.

  2. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Damian, what a powerful poem with a spot-on message in these dire times. The rhyme, rhythm, and every poetic device employed, serve to engage the reader and highlight the meaning. Benjamin Franklin’s quote springs to mind: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” I have a feeling, “good people’s acts” will most certainly “overcome/__The evil’s script we’re scotching.”… but they have to hang on to every last vestige of liberty to do it. Thank you very much for your creative insight. It’s much appreciated.

  3. Mike Bryant

    I really enjoyed this poem. It’s one of your best, Damian.
    It reminds me of a quote, as well.
    “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”
    – Louis D. Brandeis

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    The most dangerous persons on this planet are the ones who think that they know what is best for others, and who sincerely believe that they have the right to impose it on everyone else. A very significant percentage of the population thinks this way, and right now they have immense power.

    An excellent poem, Damian — but I don’t think it helps to “show the truth compassionately” to such people. You might as well recite the Anglican 39 Articles to an assembly of Hottentots.

  5. Sally Cook

    Damian – Excellent poem and illustration.! However, the time comes when truth and idealism are not enough to triumph over overweening self-satisfaction. I lean toward the Salemi side.

  6. Margaret Coats

    Most people don’t tire of tolerating tyranny. There are far more who want to be taken care of, than who want to take care of themselves. This is what I’ve found in my little resistances, and therefore I think we must resist mainly on our own behalf. We do sometimes encourage or confirm others, and this is gratifying when we realize it. The surveillance that is your topic, Damian, makes it more difficult to think of any resistance. Even switching things off can come to be suspicious behavior. But you’ve encouraged me to continue taking control wherever I can. Thanks for writing the poem!

  7. Damian Robin

    Thank you all so much for your positive comments on the poem and its message.

    Thank you also for the observations on the need to look at people warily.

    I found this really good to read:
    Dennis Prager: An Orthodox Rabbi writes that people are basically good — Judaism is in trouble

    Maybe religions nowadays are easily infiltrated by leftism because the leaders have lost their connection with their particular deity. If we believe each religion has a spiritual entity overlooking its followers, maybe that entity is lost or weakened.

    The world is in massive turmoil. It would not be unreasonable to think that beings at higher levels than Man are also suffering confusion.

    As to the practicalities of how we deal with this, that is a personal choice and can only come from our level of understanding.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      When you say “Beings at a higher level than Man are also suffering confusion,” you are saying exactly what Homer says in the Iliad — conflict, friction, and trouble on Mount Olympus are what bring about the horrors of the Trojan War on earth. We replicate divine disorder.


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