trout [ 8 ] September 2000
Bernard Cohen


One for the Prince  *

A mad boy fired a popgun at a prince,
stood there, waiting for extrajudicial
action. But where were police? Where were
snipers on the tops of buildings? No one
prepared for the boy. Planners imagined someone
well organised. This boy ran to the prince,
throwing away a toy gun, and fell onto a stage
where public figures sat on him, poses
reappearing in newspapers, and quotes:
circumstances, acted without thinking, grabbed him
by an arm, immobilised the mad boy
when he would have kept moving. And off
the boy went to Long Bay while the prince
said a speech. Everyone stood embarrassed
they hadn't screamed.

Decades ago the prince was eight.
I would have fired popguns at him
                    everyone would've.
New South Wales police won't call him
into New South Wales court to witness,
too unreliable.


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© 2000 Trout &
Bernard Cohen

Bernard Cohen writes: "I offer you this poem about Prince Charles's visit to Australia a few years ago. I did it originally as a radio performance soon after the incident, and reworked it a couple of months ago for the page, adding the second stanza (I'm writing poems at the moment, all with some kind of reflection on the law). A news account of the incident referred to is at I'd been trying to draw attention to the cause of Cambodian boat people (through writing and radio), so this was very disturbing in relation to that cause also: many feared an additional close down in government sympathy as popular opinion might have moved as a result ...."
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