Guest poem sent in by Priscilla Jebaraj
(Poem #1917) Sing a Song of Europe
Sing a song of Europe, highly civilized, Four and twenty nations wholly hypnotised, When the battle opens, the bullets start to sing - Isn't it a silly way to act for any King? The Kings are in the background, issuing commands, The Queens are in the parlours, per etiquette's demand; The bankers in the country house are busy multiplying The common people at the front are doing all the dying.
In the comments on the last poem, Vivian had said, "Like many folk songs, this is a kind of oral poetry that gives license to its 'users' to invent verses and variations of their own." I immediately remembered a variation on Sing a Song of Sixpence that a former classmate and current Minstrels member Amulya Gopalakrishnan used to quote. As far as I remember, it was about the confusion of the European Union. Or was it the Common Market? I couldn't find it on the net (Amu, if you're reading this, do send the lyrics you used to sing), but I did find this earlier parody, apparently Australian in origin. It was published in a 1928 edition of The Iron Worker, a newspaper of the NSW, a branch of Federated Ironworkers Association. It refers, I would guess, to World War I. But since the War to End All Wars didn't quite succeed in that, don't you think the meaning is applicable to any modern war as well? Priscilla