Louis MacNeice

The Satirist

Who is that man with the handshake? Don’t you know;
He is the pinprick master, he can dissect
All your moods and manners, he can discover
A selfish motive for anything – and collect
His royalties as recording angel. No
Reverence here for hero, saint or lover.

Who is that man so deftly filling his pipe
As if creating something? That’s the reason:
He is not creative at all, his mind is dry
And bears no blossoms even in the season.
He is an onlooker, a heartless type,
Whose hobby is giving everyone else the lie.

Who is that man with eyes like a lonely dog?
Lonely is right. He knows that he has missed
What others miss unconsciously. Assigned
To a condemned ship he still must keep the log
And so fulfil the premises of his mind
Where large ideals have bred a satirist.