‘It is the most humble day of my life,’ Rupert Murdoch
Beech trees, in full leaf, more than a hundred years
high in the park a street away from here,
rise sheer like raggedy cliffs, a last hurrah
of pragmatic philanthropy – like Rome
before the fall – amid the indifferent
splendour of empire: town halls designed
like palaces, museums like town halls.
It dies spluttering in Flanders mud, choking
in dugouts on Gallipoli’s cliffs.
Rupert Murdoch’s dad, a Sydney Sun (sic)
hack, who had the ears, surprise surprise,
of politicos north and south, exposed
Anzac carnage on Ottoman shores,
and brought the boys back just after Christmas –
so doing good through cunning, his means
justified by his goal, the goal always right.
As Citizen Kane aka Randolph Hearst –
one of the first tycoons of the gutter press,
war monger, dirt disher, future mangler –
lay dying, “Rosebud,” was the last he said:
a small, wooden sledge, the name in floral white,
his curtailed childhood tangible among the
vast, serried desert of his acquisitions.
High above the beeches of St James Park
the Dirty Digger watches from his penthouse
as white pelicans – a gift from Russia
for Charles II, who knew a thing or two
about dads – rise from the lake in the park,
fly towards the Palace then wheel back
over Horse Guards and the MOD,
the birds – their call a grunt and a whine – for some,
a symbol of the Passion on the Cross.
The Breaker of the English-speaking world plots
what lie he will tell Death.
Note: the poem has subsequently been published in EAP: THE MAGAZINE Winter 2012: Errors of the Gods – https://exterminatingangel.com/rosebud/