What with Paul Brookes’ poetry challenge and NaPoWriMo, I didn’t get around to posting this one that was published in April’s Visual Verse. Thanks to the team for choosing it.


I wonder what she’s trying to prove,
the statue, athlete, red, her perfect symmetry.
Like the tiger, she burns bright.

I wonder why they put her there,
looking out to sea, poised like Nijinsky,
juggling with her Olympic hoops.

Who is she gesturing at across the sunset
water, where ordinary folk like me come
to watch the tide come in?

With her hoops and her unitard, red
as blood, I can almost hear her shout,
but I don’t understand the words.

It’s only when the sun goes down, and
the rays slant across the water, slipping
through the hoops, pinning her to the sky,

and the gulls circle in a mocking wreath
about her head, and the tide rises and slops
around her points, that I understand—

the posturing is clutching at past glories,
a blind Arno Breker gathering only
indifference, points, poise, irrelevant.

Such immensity of water can never be conquered,
no matter how much red she spills, how high she holds
her banners. The crowds have all gone home.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

9 thoughts on “Propaganda”

  1. I really like the ending – forceful – asserting your right to speak out when propaganda serves to silence, to build a totality where only one voice must be heard.

    1. Thank you. It’s not just the repressing of truth in totalitarian societies, it’s the choice not to believe the truth in our democratic societies. It’s a long time since I’ve been as disgusted with we people who benefit from a free press yet choose to spread nasty, untruths or distortions of the truth because they suit our personal agenda.

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