Kenneth Slessor

(27 March 1901 – 30 June 1971 / Orange, New South Wales)

Mephistopheles Perverted - Poem by Kenneth Slessor

(Or Goethe for the Times)
ONCE long ago lived a Flea
Who kept such a fine, fat King,
Not that he held with royalty,
But more for the appearance of the thing,
And gave his Majesty to hold
(Such pageantries are far too few)
A sword of ruby-hilted gold
That possibly might hack a cheese in two;
But lest this glory might begin
To prove the regency too far,
His thunderbolt they made of tin,
And changed his godship for another Star.
Thus when the Monarch drove abroad,
With stars like buttons round his chest,
God-fearing Fleas would all applaud,
And alien Lice be grudgingly impressed.
Such relics every Flea must flaunt,
If only as the final trump
That mocks Materialism's taunt,
Proving there's more in life than Suck and Jump.
Once long ago—but not so long—
A King went curing scrofula . . .
The chorus of this charming song,
I'm told reliably, is Ha, Ha, Ha.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poem Edited: Thursday, October 27, 2011

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