A Deeper Scaly Screed

“‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ is a passionate
screed against the state of the country sung by
Oliver Anthony, who identifies as a farmer living
off the grid with his three dogs in Farmville,
Virginia.” —
Joseph Hudak, “Right-Wing
Influencers Just Found Their Favorite New Country
Song,” Rolling Stone, August 11, 2023

And with his mighty pen, Joseph reveals
A deeper scaly screed—the dragon Woke—
That tampers with the truth and blithely steals
Clear thoughts away, replacing sense with smoke.

The headline—biting tooth and biased claw—
Makes many monsters of most brothers’ brothers
And mocks with words that bloat and choke the craw.
Right-wing Influencers? Try “many”—not others.

And proof that Joseph writes the dragon’s dreck?
The lowly “is” (as in “Anthony is
A farmer”) fades from fact to folderol—
Subjective shiny slag that makes a wreck
Of rational thought.  For Joseph, nothing “is.”
All is nebulous, Woke’s free-for-all.



Maura H. Harrison is a poet and photographer from Virginia, USA. 

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5 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    Maura, you’re quite correct about leftist and liberals and woke types not wanting to use the verb of being (“am,” “is,” “be,” “are,” and related forms) whenever they can avoid it. There even was an organization several years back that encouraged speech and writing that completely abstained from any use of such verbs, in any tense.

    Of course the whole project was run by left-liberals. What lies behind it all is a sheer hatred of simple existence, and the fact that existence is an inescapable reality. For them, the idea that anyone would assert that “this thing is” or “this thing is not” is an unbearable set of shackles on free thought and creativity and dreaming.

    It explains a great deal of the cultural insanity that engulfs us today.

    • Joshua C. Frank

      In other words, sanity itself, even existence itself, is “an unbearable set of shackles” to leftists. That sure explains a lot about them.

      Of course they’re perfectly willing to say all non-leftists “are” all kinds of evil. Apparently “identifying” as none of those things isn’t enough to satisfy them… not that it matters. Since leftists love evil and hate good, to be hated by them is a badge of honor.

  2. Margaret Coats

    Shades of the Loch Ness monster, Maura! And found lurking in Rolling Stone, of all places. Your sonnet represents some complex thought, but it is most informative and the thought is worth the thinking. Thanks for scraping off some of the scales.

  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Maura, from the enticing title to the astute observation in the closing line, this poem says much about lies in today’s society. They’re everywhere, especially in a skewed opinion piece that “mocks with words that bloat and choke the craw” – a perfect metaphor! I have come to believe that we’ve moved a long way from the Left versus Right issue. We are now treading the realms of horror… a place where we must look into our very souls for the answer… not to paid-for puppets on political platforms. Apparently, this phenomenal song was played at the Republican presidential debates this week… but aren’t these greedy, globalist buffoons the very people he’s singing about? Oh, the irony. 🙂

    Maura, thank you!

    • Joshua C. Frank

      I agree, we’ve moved far beyond left vs. right, we’ll into “the realms of horror”… most of what identifies as the right (here I’m using “identifies” correctly) is the left’s puppet, whose main purpose is to make people like us think we have a voice.


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