Poems about Elections / Los poetas hablan de Elecciones: 6 nov. 2012

Poems about Elections / Los poetas hablan de Elecciones:  6 nov. 2012


By now many citizens of the USA – and countless people worldwide – are good and tired of news coverage – hasn’t media been droning on for twelve months? – of the Democratic (Obama) and Republican (Romney) campaigns leading up to the USA’s presidential election.  And today – Tuesday, November 6th – is when voters cast their ballots – in hope, in anger, out of a mechanical sense of duty – or even for their very first time…

And so we present a selection of poems – some of them satirical – about election politics.

.     .     .

They’re predicting this one’ll be a nailbiter and a humdinger,

like Kennedy’s election over Nixon back in 1960

– just too close to call.


Alexander Best

“Swing-State Boogie”


“It’s no exaggeration to say

That the undecideds could

Go either way.”<*>

And gosh, who knew? that

How it goes

Depends on news from

O – HI – O ?

<*>Quotation from George Bush Sr., whose mastery of the backwards witty and bafflingly mundane in political comment was surpassed only by his son, George Bush Jr.

.     .     .

The following poem, “The Poor Voter on Election Day”, was written at a time when Democracy meant only white men voted – and no women.  (And people doubtless did vote with their left hands too, though Whittier seemed to think all power lay in the right…)

But Whittier’s idealistic political sentiment is as American in 2012 – even with contemporary cynicism factored in – as it was in 1852.


John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

“The Poor Voter on Election Day” (1852)


The proudest now is but my peer,

The highest not more high;

Today, of all the weary year,

A king of men am I.

Today alike are great and small,

The nameless and the known

My palace is the people’s hall,

The ballot-box my throne!


Who serves today upon the list

Beside the served shall stand;

Alike the brown and wrinkled fist,

The gloved and dainty hand!

The rich is level with the poor,

The weak is strong today;

And sleekest broadcloth counts no more

Than homespun frock of gray.


Today let pomp and vain pretence

My stubborn right abide;

I set a plain man’s common sense

Against the pedant’s pride.

Today shall simple manhood try

The strength of gold and land

The wide world has not wealth to buy

The power in my right hand!


While there’s a grief to seek redress,

Or balance to adjust,

Where weighs our living manhood less

Than Mammon’s vilest dust —

While there’s a right to need my vote

A wrong to sweep away,

Up! clouted knee and raggéd coat!

A man’s a man to-day!

.     .     .

Hoy, en la ocasión de la Elección en los EE.UU., le presentamos poemas de dos poetas que hablaron de la política con pasión y con escepticismo:


Guillermo Aguirre y Fierro* 

(1887-1949, San Luis Potosí, México)

“La Elección”

*Poema anónimo publicado en el periódico “El Cronista del Valle” (Brownsville, Texas, mayo de 1926).  Historiador Antonio Saborit ha dicho que –seguramente – el poema fue escrito por Guillermo Aguirre y Fierro.


El león falleció ¡triste desgracia!

Y van, con la más pura democracia,

a nombrar nuevo rey los animales.

Las propagandas hubo electorales,

prometieron la mar los oradores,

y aquí tenéis algunos electores:

aunque parézcales a ustedes bobo

las ovejas votaron por el lobo;

como son unos buenos corazones

por el gato votaron los ratones;

a pesar de su fama de ladinas

por la zorra votaron las gallinas;

la paloma inocente,

inocente votó por la serpiente;

las moscas, nada hurañas,

querían que reinaran las arañas;

el sapo ansía, y la rana sueña

con el feliz reinar de la cigüeña;

con un gusano topo

que a votar se encamina por el topo;

el topo no se queja,

más da su voto por la comadreja;

los peces, que sucumben por su boca,

eligieron gustosos a la foca;

el caballo y el perro, no os asombre,

votaron por el hombre,

y con dolor profundo

por no poder encaminarse al trote,

arrastrábase un asno moribundo

a dar su voto por el zopilote.

Caro lector que inconsecuencias notas,

dime: ¿no haces lo mismo cuándo votas?

.     .     .

Jorge Valenzuela (Chile)

“Poema sobre las Elecciones”


A prepararse señores

se vienen las municipales

se renovarán los alcaldes

y también los concejales.

Volverán las calles sucias

las paredes muy pintadas

afiches en las casas

y las voces destempladas.

Las campañas en terreno

las visitas puerta a puerta

para cuadrar como sea

las ficticias encuestas.

Los diarios-la televisión

y las radios saturadas

destacando al candidato

ofreciendo todo y nada.

Los operativos sociales

los alimentos en cajas

materiales de todo tipo

para reparar bien las casas.

Al final de la contienda

vencedores y vencidos

si te he visto no me acuerdo

y el voto se ha perdido.

.     .     .

At the age of 27 NDP candidate Ruth Ellen Brosseau won the Québec seat of Berthier-Maskinongé in the May 2011 Canadian federal election.   A French-speaking riding of which she had little knowledge – she has since been on a big learning curve with the French language – and she lived in Kingston at the time, not Trois-Rivières – Brosseau campaigned only barely because she was on vacation in Las Vegas in the days leading up to the vote.  Yet she won – and by a healthy margin.  What’s her secret ?!?  Because Barack Obama and Mitt Romney – who spent over a billion dollars each on their campaigns – would dearly love to know!


Adrian deKuyper

“When the Bell Tolls” (A Limerick)


With hard work and much dedication

Our MPs do their best for our nation

So we salute Ms. Brosseau

Who it seems did not know

That when the bell tolls – don’t take a vacation.

.     .     .

And a poetical angle on local (Toronto) politics in-the-moment…


Alexander Best

“Pass the gravy boat!”


“Stop the almost-a-train-wreck!”

(A poem for Rob Ford)


He barked:  I’ll stop the gravy train!

Toronto folks, they listened.

But pugfaced Rob, our city’s mayor,

Keeps changing his positions.


He drives himself to City Hall

And, ‘texting’, gives ‘the finger’.

When brought to task, shrugs:  Lighten up, o-kay!?

Bad feelings linger.


Please hire a driver, Mr. Ford,

And concentrate on business:

The mayoralty and civic tasks – the voters’ god-damn business.


Don’t commandeer a rush-hour bus

For your high-school football team

– shenanigans like that just make the People – goofball! – steam.


Our previous mayor froze out the Right

– that’s why there’s hothead You.

But calling Leftys pinko-fascists’s

Not the thing to do.


People joke about your weight,

Yeah, you’re an easy target.

But being mayor’s a hefty job

So please, won’t you get on it?!


You are a big man, 300 pounds plus,

With energy to burn.

So show big spirit for Trawno – Team Us

And focus, listen, learn!

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