Maxine Beneba Clarke

with his right arm raised

in holy rapture


and the invited camera man

angling the frame


shirt creased shadow-dramatic

     like a gentileschi


and hallelujah

light catching

              his face,



the prime minister stands, pious

voice raised, and open:


and gives himself over

to the word of the lord



thou shalt not covet

     and he knifes for the leadership

do unto others

     he aims for 18c

judge not

     and he attacks the safe schools coalition

thou shalt not steal

     and he blocks uluru


oh, look how devout,

in his glossolalia


but beware the false prophet,

        for he speaketh in tongue


thou shalt not have any strange gods before me

     as he bows, and he kowtows

     to the infighting factions


thou shalt not kill

     but by proxy, on manus


nor take the name of the lord god in vain


and oh his face, it shines earnest

in glorious rapture


while the press bus is parked

            to witness him pray

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of The Hate Race and Foreign Soil. She is a winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.

Sharing credit ×

Share this article, without restrictions.

You’ve shared all of your credits for this month. They will refresh on June 1. If you would like to share more, you can buy a gift subscription for a friend.