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ROSEBUD

‘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.

 

© Copyright David Selzer
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