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Poetry: Mandatory Happiness


A poem about life under the thumb of a dictator.

Inspired by reports of recent developments in North Korea and of life inside one of the most isolated nations in the world.

The procession marches, a perfect line,

Soldiers dressed in pristine white;

The bands play tunes of patriotic fervor,

The mandatory music of bureaucratic servers.


The King’s been crowned, God’s chosen protector,

The realm must rejoice, so says the dictator;

Whispers of tyranny, gently hushed,

Newspapers showered praise, anchors gushed.


They say at night, someone screams in the basement,

A scribe’s disappeared, chasing scandals in parliament–

Lost to the system, files tend to disappear

At parties held to honor foreign Peers.


Happy faces walk in perfect lines,

Perfect teeth shine with perfect smiles;

Flawless citizens of a great monarch,

A great nation flourishes on crimson earth.


Slums razed to create the magnificent stadium,

Where dignitaries watch soccer, kids sell opium;

Homeless strays euthanized, lay by the wayside,

Ministers bicker over the stock-market plight.


In mandatory happiness, the public rejoices,

A shackled media makes the appropriate noises;

All juntas and fuehrers mingle to create one Paradise,

Where never shall be heard any protesting voices.

About the author

An eccentric writer of quirky tales, who likes reading, writing, talking, shopping and singing tunelessly in the shower.



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