Mandarin: A Civil Servant

by Richard MacWilliam

Mandarin: another language –
Or a civil servant, all brain, no brains,
Issues of life and death seen from a distance,
Killing fields reduced to dots on a map,
Airlifts mere logistical problems,
Floods and wars the seasonal charts of humanity.

Mandarin: a remote comfort in a well-lit office,
Cyphers chased through mental space,
Grand conclusions and summing ups carefully weighed.

Here are all the trimmings;
The status, the perks,
The toy-town gongs.

Carefully woven through decades,
A thin narrative has propelled this one to the Top,
But there’s no vision,
No passion,
No ability to make things happen –
Only the role confers power,
A role hungrily chased.

Hush! As the seas roil,
Sssh! As a young child dies,
Beware! As the skies darken.

Life is powerful and vibrant,
And a Mandarin just a speck in infinity toying with illusion;
Remove the gossamer backdrop and there’s just a washed-out soul,
Too intent on its own purpose to be useful to anyone.

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