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This poem is taken from PN Review 155, Volume 30 Number 3, January - February 2004.

Two Poems (translated by John Gallas) Giuseppe Giusti

The Steam Chopper

In China there's
this steam-machine
that drives a guillotine.
In three hours it can shift
a hundred thousand heads in a row
                                      in one go.

Everyone's talking about it.
The Holy Thingummies can see
that the whole country
will be civilised pretty soon,
and make Eurocrats
                       look like twats.

His Sublime Cloudiness is an honourable man:
a bit nasty, a bit tight,
a bit thick, but a real Benthamite,
and a Father to His People
...


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