Always and Everywhere
after Wislawa Szymborska

God may have been abolished
but politics is everywhere and always.
Your arrival on and departure from
Earth are political.
Even if you don’t die of it,
though many do,
politics is present at your last breath
as it was for your first.

For some people,
wearing their hair a certain length
so others will presume
they were against certain wars
is the most political thing they’ve ever done.
For them, not getting that haircut
was a personal revolution which continued
long after they got private health insurance
and had tomorrow’s Washington Post op-ed
preinstalled in their brains.

In other countries,
what colour laces you use
to do up your boots with
is politics of the most serious variety;
as is the fact across most of the planet
it’s legal to kill a wasp
with the local equivalent of The Irish Times
but not yet to take a lump hammer
to an auctioneer.

And that those on distant
and, presumably, better worlds,
who must be able to see enough of us
to pity us,
can’t be bothered to come rescue us
from ourselves
until there’s something in it for them
is politics at its intergalactic worst.



Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway, Ireland. He has published five full collections of poems: The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening New Furniture (2010), The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), & Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital (2019). His poems also feature in Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014).  His poems have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, TheTimes (London), & The Daily Mirror. His work has been broadcast on RTE Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4