Dear Mr American President


Hello. We are two girls, aged six and three,
And I know we should still be asleep,
But we’ve been thinking about Grandad’s story.
It was all so new, exciting and deep!

Fire and fury and power and Phut!
The like of which the world has never seen.
On the TV, which we never watch, you put
Carmine lake into the future that’s never yet been.

And you held forth and waved your mighty hand.
Cool! If you want, you can come and see our bonfire
And camp with us here on the quiet white sand.
We can show you our dolls and all our drawings, sire.

Would that be good for you? We wear matching socks.
We help mummy and daddy collect the firewood.
Sometimes we just pick up unusual rocks
Or chase butterflies instead. It’s not what we should

Be doing, we know. By the way, what does ‘fury’ mean?
When you come to see us, could you let us know?
We know what fire is. Bright flames, leaping and keen.
We’d love to hear more about that, but now we must go.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 8.05.03 am

Mr President, the girls have now gone to bed,
So it’s just me talking to you. I’m their grandad.
Um, I’ve been thinking about what you said.
Of course you are worried. Mad and sad!

It is scary to think about Pyongyang’s threat
To strike areas, around the territory of Guam,
With medium-to-long-range missiles. Piles! I bet
it’s a struggle for you to stay serene. Keep calm!

The Andersen Air Force Base appears to be one place,
Now targeted as a serious warning signal to the U.S.
A great concern! Time to breathe deeply, man. If you brace
yourself, and deal we will soon be out of this mess!

You can take the lead on that! And do you know what,
I have an idea that would make you, at any rate,
A historically acclaimed dealmaker. Not
Just any sort of negotiator. One that is truly great!

Kim Jong Un says he might bring fire down on us,
The mother of torments, the apocalyse at the end of time.
Perhaps you will say, “I’m going to stop this particular bus
before it runs all of us over the cliff. If it does, see me climb!”

You’re now in the kingpin negotiator’s seat, firmly aware.
Any fool could press the oblivion button. Obvious red!
A wise leader, as you know, takes time to think, to share,
to get the issues on the table. You are there. At the head!

Now if only you can lay out a plan, so audacious and grand
That Kim Jong Un would just clap his hands and jump with glee,
While in Guam, 2000 odd miles to the southeast of Kim’s land,
they’ll hear such good news from across the sea!

People will salute your leadership, your skill,
Your first-ever, binding, nuclear arms deal,
Only negotiated in the moments before the licence to kill
On a gargantuan scale was almost given your seal!

Like you, I was born after the second world war, in 1946,
After Little Boy and Fat Man had left Hiroshima, Nagasaki,
A total mess, house shells and telegraph poles, bare sticks,
A wasted landscape as far as the eye could see,

Where families, much like ours, had been vaporised.
In those moonscape cities no children were left to play.
That reminds me. Grandchildren! I have surmised
That we have ten between us by the way.

Here’s the thing, Don. You did take command.
You successfully negotiated
UN Security Council sanctions. Their line in the sand!
Such a good deal! Almost consummated!

You have the power to bring work to the workless,
Long-hoped-for peace to the region,
Hope to the hopeless, homes for the homeless,
A brand new purpose for the legion

Of costly weapons at everyone’s disposal.
Excuse me, you ask. What is your plan? I say,
Well, to resolve the conflict you need a winning proposal.
Not fake news! A superb negotiator could suggest a way.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 8.54.04 am

Brian Devlin
August 10, 2017


One thought on “Dear Mr American President

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