Epitaph on a Tyrant

While leafing through the collected works of W.H. Auden, I chanced on a short poem that is very apt to the times we are in. Last year, we saw dictators fall one after another in the Middle East and, in the case of the Philippines, the ongoing trial of ex-Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over the plunder of the nation’s coffers. Human rights advocates in the Philippines are also glad over the trial of top military officers for cases of human rights abuses. As mentioned in our previous blog, there were a total of 1,119 victims of extra-judicial killings under the ten-year Arroyo regime. Time Travelling is thus one with the Philippine nation in hoping that justice will be finally served.

Epitaph on a Tyrant

Perfection of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

–January 1939, W. H. Auden


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