A Dickens Of A Time

Please sir, may I have some more
Air cover, tanks, defense systems,
Handshakes in good faith, a strong
Message of support? May I come,
Cap in hand and all that,
Being the smallest, the weakest
In the workhouse, and ask humbly
On your magnanimity, for a lost
Or forgotten aunt, perhaps a Mr. Brownlow
To take me in? Or, as it may be,
If this is too much to petition, teach
Me the art of thievery.

About the Poem

I have been reading Oliver Twist with my children recently and it occurred to me that there is an idea in the book that is transferrable to the International and Australian response to the war between Ukraine and Russia. In Dickens’s novels, we have an expectation that good will prevail, and the generous spirit of a stranger will arise. This is also a criticism of Dicken’s work in that it is unrealistic. This poem was an attempt to consider Volodymyr Zelensky and the contemporary context of Oliver Twist.

About the Author

Glenn McPherson is a Sydney-based poet and teacher. He has been widely published in Australian Journals and Anthologies. In 2022, he was featured in the Newcastle Prize and ACU Poetry Prize Anthology and was published in the Best of Australian Poetry 2022. In 2023, he was a finalist in the Gwen Harwood Poetry Competition, Poetry Forthcoming in, Antipodes and Australian Poetry Anthology (10).

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