Did it just happen
By happenstance: half the world
Ruled by psychopaths?
Ramesses the Second
Is generally reckoned
A fabulous pharaoh,
although Shelley’s sonnet
Sheds another light on it.
Was for ever
Fighting, building and destroying.
Probably quite annoying.
Alexander the Great
Seemed destined by fate
To attack, attack, attack.
The third Roman emperor,
Spent most of his reign
Fiddled con brio
To lighten the tone
As flames ravaged Rome.
Attila the Hun
Without ever understanding the inanity
Of macho masculinity.
William the Conqueror
Came over here
And got British nationality at Battle
Without going through the proper channel.
Richard the Third
Might have been a murderer
But it’s definitely not conjecture
That his bones were parked in Leicester.
Defender of the Faith,
Believed the biggest problem in his life
Was whoever happened to be his wife.
Ivan the Terrible
Was great in ‘Ivan the Terrible’
But other than in ‘Ivan the Terrible’
He was terrible.
Lord Protector of the Commonwealth
Of England, Scotland and Ireland
(Where he murdered several thousand).
To whom much of European jurisprudence
But I’m with Beethoven.
Stalin, aka Uncle Joe,
Is still admired in Russia, even though
In historians’ opinion
He murdered more or less nine million.
Il Duce of Italy,
Was fond of being fascist for effect.
Perhaps too much, in retrospect.
A former führer
Who failed a bit at painting pics
And then – big time – at politics.
Is still revered in China now,
Not so much for all the lives he took
But rather for his little little-read red book.
An Iranian theocrat known mainly
For looking sour, overthrowing the Shah
And having a thing about fatwa.
Give up being God,
Which, if he was, is odd.
El dictador de Chile,
Turned Chile into Hell.
Tal vez el infierno es chilly para él.
Was loved by leaders in the West who
Admired his opposition
to the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
It didn’t make Romanians any happier.
Loved any political party
As long as the party celebree
Was criticised quite a lot
from orthodox Marxism-Leninism.
(He killed about two million.)
Was keen to be seen
As Uganda’s Great Dictator.
A fruitcake, who became a fruitarian later.
After No No No to this
and No No No to that
He donned a power-sharing hat.
At giving very very very
very very very very long speeches
While Cuba fell to pieces.
Had an awfully bad name
For human rights abuses, genocide, corruption
And for not having any weapons
of mass destruction.
Was not in good humour
When charged with
It was all a misconstruction.
Thought himself savvy,
But if you read his famous Green Book
You’ll think him mistook.
An ethnic-cleansing fan
With a propensity for heroic poetry
A fighter against tyranny.
Then a tyrant, ironically.
Got the hump,
Being the quondam megalomaga
win-win mafia boss
Was always saddened
That he had to deny being in the IRA
After each attrocity.
Israeli hard-right PM who
Dislikes: (a) being tried for corruption
and (b) any opinions
In favour of Palestinians.
Has a tried and tested Modi operandi:
1: stir up hatred of minority.
2: maintain majority.
Is always a shoo-in
Whenever, as Russia’s
democratically elected great dictator,
He’s on the ballot paper.
Very powerful he
And much beloved by every Chinese who
Know much loving, that the safest thing to do.
Acts the hard man, though
It doesn’t cut it:
He’s Putin’s puppet.
A self-styled anti-democratic he-man hero.
Otherwise minus zero.
One-time No. 1 Nigerian,
Could hardly believe
his nominally determinative good luck:
President, and unassailably corrupt.
Osama bin Laden
Never lived in Arden
Where he might have found the everyday life
of country folk more fulfilling
Than everyday killing.
Mega Magyar man.
A quondam dissident who thought, Fuck that.
I’ll be an autocrat.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson,
Would-be world king at Eton,
Had to restrict his ambition
To fucking up Britain.
Really shouldn’t look so sad:
Although so many Syrians are dead
or have fled to the exterior,
He’s still the President of Syria.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,
The Caliphate’s Big Daddy,
Believed that doing wrong is right.
The little shite.
Born between 1965 and 1975, died 2021
Abubakar Shakau of Boko Haram
Dedicated his life to doing harm.
After many false reports that he had died,
Good news! He really did!
Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia
Had seemed a herald of utopia
Until his Ethiopian epiphany went amiss
And became an Abyssinian abyss.
Born between 1982 and 1984
A rotund wrong’un,
Who’s ruled with iron rod
ever since his Korea adviser said,
Why not have a go at being God?
Mohammed bin Salman,
Ruler of the Saud Clan,
Relaxed the code for women’s dress,
But torture, jailing and murder
remain his major interest.
Victors in Afghanistan,
Like repressing girls and women.
Just wait till women do the winning!
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,
et in saecula saeculorum. Ah, men.
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