You knew for a fact, they’d never
allow a pair of mad eyes with a pistol
near the Emperor and his wife;
and when they did, knew
the war would be done
before the Christmas tree went up
in Chichester town square;
and when it wasn’t, that the Germans
must be forced to pick up the bill,
so they never did this again.
You knew for a fact, the Tsar
had a special place in the Russian peasant’s heart;
and when he hadn’t, that the Bolsheviks
wouldn’t last five minutes.
And when they did, they were what
you’d been praying for all along.
Hitler was a joke with an Austrian accent
who’d never amount to anything,
and when he did, you knew for a fact
he had no interest in Warsaw, Kiev, Coventry.
You knew when the turbulence
had done its worst, the Shah
would still be sat on his Peacock throne,
looking taller than he actually was. Khomeni?
In five years’ time no one
would remember his name.
And that cowboy actor was never
going to win the White House.
The hijackers you envisaged
always landed the plane
and let the passengers go.
‘Historically Sensible’ is from The Ghost in the Lobby, Kevin’s fourth poetry collection, which is available now from Salmon. http://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=323&a=108
It was first published in the online literary magazine The Burning Bush 2
Kevin Higgins lives in Galway, Ireland. For many years he was a political activist, a member of the Militant Tendency in both Ireland and London. He was especially active in the anti-poll tax campaign and was Chair of Enfield Against The Poll Tax. After politics (in 1995) Kevin began writing poetry. His poetry features in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Ed Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010) and one of his poems is included in the forthcoming anthology The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe April 2014). The Ghost In The Lobby (Salmon, Spring 2014) is Kevin’s fourth collection of poems.
The Ghost In The Lobby will be launched in London on Saturday, April 20th at 3pm by former Conservative Mayor of Enfield Nadia Conway at Haringey Irish Centre, Pretoria Road Tottenham, London N17. All are welcome to attend.
“His contribution to the development of Irish satire is indisputable…Higgins’ poems embody all of the cunning and deviousness of language as it has been manipulated by his many targets... it is clear that Kevin Higgins’ voice and the force of his poetic project are gaining in confidence and authority with each new collection.” Philip Coleman
“With backstage guardians in Paul Durcan (see his titles) and Patrick Kavanagh, Kevin Higgins's work has a buoyant spoken immediacy (often taking the form of dramatic monologues), his poems springing out of colloquial address and celebrating the ordinary through a use of quotidian bric-a-brac, which he often pits - with positive effect - against larger (but no more important) forces…Comedy is part of his poetics, and what I especially like in his work is its swiftness of wit, its tone of buoyant contrarianism and jubilant disappointment”, Eamonn Grennan, The Irish Times
“It is a profound compliment to the quality of Kevin’s writing that you can disagree with the content and yet find yourself still reading on and appreciating the style. You’d have to say that he is one of the lead poets of his generation in Ireland at this stage.” Clare Daly T.D.
“Gil Scott Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as re-told by Victor Meldrew”. Phil Brown, Eyewear
“good satirical savagery”. The Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry, 1800-2000