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Before books became bonfires,
When we weren’t ruled by force,
The strong-arm of the liars,
Rode about on white horse.

They rode into town with their high boots on,
And it didn’t take long for the crowds to be gone.

They dismounted to kick down the closest of doors,
Dragging women out screaming and calling them whores.
Then they’d take out the menfolk and hack off their head,
And go back in the house to check under the bed.

Before there were books thoughts were harder to burn,
Only tied to a stake could they cleanse you a turn.
So we wrote it all down and kept it on shelves,
That before the bonfires, we’d learn for ourselves.

And what of the now,
Is it clearer to see,
For yourself, see the how,
Of what you’re meant to be.

In the now, they don’t usually ride on a horse,
Except against hooligans, rioters and protesters of course,
And they don’t kick down doors and drag people outside,
Because there’s nothing to fear if you’ve nothing to hide.

If you do as you’re told you’ll have nothing to fear,
Just go out and don’t talk of it over a beer.
Then scurry on home and plug t’internet in,
And hope that their spying adbots can’t get in.

In a time long ago, long before firewalls,
Before books became bonfires, burning bright, burning tall.
Ideas were passed down from the old to the young,
In great poems remembered the way they were sung.


by Victor L Machin


Categories: Poems


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