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Plan to bring down Putin with poetry goes from bad to verse

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.

WARNING: The following column contains poetry that some readers may find disturbing.

You get the wartime poetry you deserve.

In France, there’s “Liberté” by Paul Éluard, written during the German occupation of France in 1942: Sur mes cahiers d’écolier / Sur mon pupitre et les arbres / Sur le sable sur la neige / J’écris ton nom

Brits are taught in school about First World War poets such as Wilfred Owen, whose piece titled “Futility” begins: Move him into the sun / Gently its touch awoke him once / At home, whispering of fields unsown …

The poor people of Ukraine have Bono, or to give him his full name, Oh No Not Fucking Bono Again, who penned a piece of verse about both the Russian invasion and St. Patrick’s Day that begins: O Saint Patrick he drove out the snakes / With his prayers but that’s not all it takes.

Staggeringly, that’s not the worst bit. It ends thus: Ireland’s sorrow and pain / Is now the Ukraine / And Saint Patrick’s name is Zelenskyy.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, read out Bono’s poem during the annual Friends of Ireland lunch in Washington, D.C., before introducing a performance of Riverdance — because if there’s one thing Americans love more than pretending to be Irish, it’s clichés.

Bono’s poem came just a few weeks after American actor AnnaLynne McCord wrote a bizarre — and very long — poem directed at the Russian leader in which she said: Dear President Vladimir Putin: I’m so sorry that I was not your mother / If I was your mother, you would have been so loved. It was so bad it prompted a journalist to tweet: “Forget Ukraine. Send ground troops to Hollywood.”

This level of inane celebrity involvement in politics would, however, have been nothing compared with what almost happened during the Donald Trump presidency. There are only about six people on the planet less qualified than Trump to make big geopolitical decisions, and one of them is Kid Rock. And yet, the singer said Trump asked him for advice on foreign policy, including the fight against the Islamic State and diplomacy with Kim Jong-un.

According to Kid Rock, Trump asked him during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2017: “What do you think we should do about North Korea?” 

“I’m like, ‘What?’” the musician said he responded. “I don’t think I’m qualified to answer this.”

And when Kid Rock is the smartest man in the room, you’re in the wrong room.


“This is first class? People don’t normally say that about me.”

Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

Last week we gave you this photo:

Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.

“If life serves you lemons, don’t drink the lemonade,” by Frederic Myers.

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s Slot News Editor.

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