Elegy for the West

Why do I write an elegy for the West,
When all can see that it has won the day.
Its values and its riches unsurpassed
And Ozymandias himself would grovel before
The symbols of the wealth of the West.

The Heroes of the West are not the ones we see
On television or the silver screen - they hide
Deliberate in their anonymity
From paparazzi eyes and flicking lens
And count the profits gained in trade each day.

The Heroes of the West are not the ones we see
On sporting field or senatorial chambers - they lurk
Deliberate with a reasoned long-term plan
Within the lobbies of the land to seek
To gain control - and guide the leaders
To their own ends

Who then are the Heroes of the West?
Barbaric hordes of History's ages past
Would find blood brothers in our age -
But dressed in suits they calculate
Another conquest and another hoard of gold.

And the strategy of the Heroes of the West is based
Upon the Art of War. Ah, Sun Tzu, what have you done?
To save the kingdom, you have lost the world as
Suited armies send forth minions to unleash
the dead upon the living Earth.


In the West we have become less than
Euclidian - a One Dimensional world - linear
With arrows leading directly to the Bottom Line
As we toil hard to keep our Heroes rich.

And what of us, the Citizens of the West?
Slavery long since dead and we are all now free
To join the synomity of the marketplace and battlefield
To struggle for our share of life
Under Heroes' rules

And we obey the rules: rigid they are
And harsh are the penalties for disobedience:
Live to the Heroes' Rules or live as serfs
Wards churlishly fed to stem the riots
In the streets of the Marketplace.

Now we are free but slaves to survival
In our Heroic world. And metaphorical forelocks
Are tugged with sycophantic smiles as we work, and hope
For one more cheque, for our own success
By the Heroes' Rules.


How mighty is the Civilisation of the West!
It has conquered the world with its simplicity.
It has captured all that it desires and has made
Paradise real for the Heroes - the demigods of our existence, but they
feast on our work - these vampires of Valhalla.

The Empire of the West grows using magic words
To invoke the Lord of Mammon: "More! And Profit!"
And this cantrip runs the West and takes the World
From leaf-green to dusty sand.

There are revels in Valhalla and starvation on the Earth
As the West takes more, then more, and more again, and
Rewards us with the crumbs of coins useable only in the shops
Which bear the imprimatur of the Heroes' own brands
While the villages wither and the fields fail.

Sky and sea and loamy earth are now the toys
Of the West, as our hero-gods incant their magic and watch
The conveyors of goods move ever faster into the treasure-houses
Guarded by dragons bespectacled and brief-cased and suited
Who blast the intruders with tongues of legal flame.

And in Valhalla the sky is slate grey, the sea
Polystyrene oil-slicked, and the earth a rusty toxic place
On which is build the castles and the keeps
And jewelled turrets of the Hero-gods' gilded mansions
As they compete for greater glory in the Tournament of Greed.