The Protector Is Protected


Statue of Oliver Cromwell outside the House of Commons, Westminster, London, England


To The Statue Of Lord Cromwell

we cannot get through the bars to do what we would like to do to you.

we cannot pass through the cordon of armed policeman who aim to guard you

like a New Model Army, but blue, with silver-nippled custodians on heads.

ambivalently, the protector is protected by some who remember one head,

one neck, one life – how could such lush curls have been shorn by ax? –

but care nothing for six hundred thousand Irish heads, as collateral

as cattle. while Dr. Johnson keeps a cat, Lord Cromwell keeps a lion!

such a pet can’t be easy to feed when all you have is a sword and Bible

unless you recite from Numbers while tossing it Roundhead foreskins.

and ignoring its roar of rebuke in Gaelic: MALLACHT CHROMAIL ORT!

now you seem troubled by the latest debates regarding your own status.

what would I do if I got through? having thought about it long and hard

I’d like to confiscate your holier-than-thou book with immediate effect

and place in your hand another book, the First Folio of Shakespeare

for it’s what you tried to do to him that should most vex your countrymen.


your ghost hates stone, exhumed, cut-up and scattered

at Tyburn, the real you is barebones through and through

Niall McDevitt

Pic: Wikimedia

Earlier: Post-Colonial

Last night: Scatter Your Enemies

11 thoughts on “The Protector Is Protected

  1. White Dove

    I enjoyed this poem and the concept of changing the book in Cromwell’s hand. Thanks.

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