Heroes are people we know nothing about

I should know, I've followed a few in my time

Heroes are substitutes for I'm not quite sure what

And we follow them without reason or rhyme.

 

The usual suspects have been up on my wall

John Lennon, and Lenin and Mao

Up on the pedestal was Marley of course

With Karl Marx as the sacred old cow.

Malcolm X was a beacon for many a young man

And the women were attracted to him too

And Bob Dylan is still elevated to god like status

Though what he stands for I still haven't a clue.

 

Brave women have made it to the podium as well

With Rosa Luxemburg way up in the stars

But before her was the wonderfully defiant Emily Pankhurst

Who fought both sides of those cruel iron bars.

 

Now many women are up in the vanguard

There's Naomi and Ayaan and Arundhati

The lucidity and force of their radical arguments

Reduces their reactionary opponents to putty.

 

Colour is no impediment to hero status these days

Mandela, King and Ghandi can testify to this

And who could forget the indefatigable Angela Davis

Though the establishment continue to hiss.

 

Each country produces its own heroes

Though they have enemies and detractors aplenty

In one land a man maybe be hailed a hero

In another he has a terrorist identity.

 

Sports stars and celebrities form the latest batch of heroes

Beckham, Madonna and Lady Gaga come to mind

They are brilliant at exploiting the marketing system

Though their enduring talent is often difficult to find.

 

Footballers are now our most common heroes

Kissing their shirts every time they are called on to play

Beseeching god to bless their every effort

As if He had nothing better to do with his day.

 

These days common soldiers are hailed as heroes

'Help for Heroes' say the words on the banner

But there's an argument to say they're just mercenaries

Destroying nations by every conceivable manner.

 

There are plenty of discredited and fallen heroes these days

Tiger Woods, Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris

The papers are littered with their crimes and misdemeanours

From London, from New York and from Paris

 

Scientists occasionally are voted as heroes

There's Steven Hawkin and Richard Dawkins for a start

Though we invariably can't follow their intricate science

Their pronouncements seem to give us much heart.

 

Religions have had their fair share of heroes

Buddha and Jesus and Mohammed to name but a few

But unbeknown to these early social campaigners

It's only hatred that their modern devotees now view

 

Some people still regard royalty as heroes

Though to me they're just a heredity parasite

They live life in a comfortable tax-payers funded bubble

Without a single care for the working man's plight.

 

Then there are what we call the anti-heroes

Their notoriety is known across the globe

Russell Brand is infamous for his once sordid lifestyle

Now it's sordid capitalism he seeks to disrobe.

 

In the bygone age before TV and the Internet

It was playwrights and poets that got the fame

Now our heroes seem a little more ephemeral

Any transient pop star can now carry the flame.

 

I must confess to still having my heroes

Though these days they're slightly more cerebral in feel

Mike Leigh and Mantel and Linton Kwesi Johnson

These thoughtful artists seem to be the real deal.

 

But what is this obsession with heroes?

That we seem to be unable to shake

What is this need to create heroes?

When behind the glamour it's all rather fake.

Of course we're all trying to find sense in the world

A unified ideology is what we're all seeking to make

Whether religious or secular or atheist

Our need for heroes seems impossible to break.

 

I've decided that my next New Year resolution

Is to banish heroes from every thought in my brain

And I know just the person to help me achieve this

A person at the very top of their game

This person is destined to become my next hero

A person without blemish or stain

And as I herald the dawn of a new era

My entire thesis is slip-sliding down the drain.

 

End JPK Copyright 2/5/15

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Last Updated ( Monday, 21 May 2018 06:45 )