King Edward’s Statue


How out of place and out
Of joint this silly statue is,
A plump, preposterous, dead king
On horseback, a lone figure leading
Whom? People go about
Their private business now not his.

Here he sits left like drift-
wood when the tide has turned yet not
Fashioned by nature nor yet in
Touch with the world. He craves domin-
ion, too immense to lift,
Keeping for England this last spot.

And yet, thanks to the birds,
This brazen king and his lifeless steed
Exhibit motions: pausing there
Fluttering down pigeons dare
Crap on a king. Were turds,
Like every other vulgar need,

Such unacknowledged things
That those whose empire ruled the waves
Never foresaw this common smear
Upon the king they honoured here
Nor knew what strength life springs
From compost, ruins, mould and graves?

The mayor and councillors
Who set this monster up would blush
Behind their top hats to admit
That men have natural functions. Shit,
They attempted to cast us
In Edward’s mould, in his bronze flesh.


It is some years since I was last in Sydney but this statue has always stuck in my mind or my craw and I have never forgotten it. It is grand in its own way but…

Current edit 17 August 2016

15 February 2017


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