Athol Williams

An American tale

America the great
stood in front of a mirror
looking at her reflection.
In the foreground she saw Trump
and in the background war.
Shocked, she rubbed her eyes
and looked again.

In the foreground she saw Clinton
and in the background war.
Again she rubbed her eyes, and looked again –
in the foreground Obama, background war.
Again and again, rubbing her eyes, closing
and opening them, looking away and back again –
in the foreground Bush, background war
Clinton, war
Bush, war,
Reagan, war
White House, war
Capitol Hill, war
Star-spangled-banner, war
Haliburton, war
Exxon, war
Monsanto, war
Hollywood, war
Disneyland, war
MacDonalds, war
Coca Cola, war
Pizza, war
Baseball, war
Football, war
over and over again,
in the background, war.

America the great
did not like what she saw;
it was time for change, time to act,
so she declared war
on mirrors.



Athol Williams is a South African poet and social philosopher who has published three collections of poems, an autobiography entitled Pushing Boulders, and four children’s books.  His poetry awards include the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award (which he won twice), the Parallel Universe Poetry Competition (Oxford University) and runner-up for the South African Literary Award for Poetry.  He holds degrees from Harvard, MIT, LSE, London Business School, Wits and is currently a student of political philosophy at Oxford University.