The Tragedy of the Commons

Anna  Montgomery, guest contributor at the Poet’s Pub gives us an interesting look at neologisms, colloquial language and nonsense words, requiring a poem incorporating any or all three.  I apologise for re-posting a poem I wrote a couple of years ago at the height of the outrageous revelations about Members of Parliament getting on the gravy train, while ordinary folk were tightening their belts and losing their jobs and homes.   The following year, the Government was voted out, but the gravy train still seems to be on the rails.

The poem launches a neologism born originally from a friend’s typo: mundulation/  and I’m trying to get it into the Oxford English Dictionary, so please feel free to use it! 

The Tragedy of the Commons 

The world has gone to pot.
With mundulating, globalizing
boom and bust, we’ve overshot
all decency.

Destabilizing politicians
writhe ignobly in the glare
of discovery,
admitting inanity in the hope of recovery,
unaware of the wrath that greets their cupidity.

The futility of trying to find some validity,
they squirm and wriggle
‘sorrying’ lamely
as hacks dig more dirt, exposing it gamely.

‘Obeying the rules’ they say,
looking like fools, they
fall over themselves to repent
and recant.
‘Accounting inadequacy’ they explain with complacency.

But we’ll have the last laugh,
we have  power to depose them,
unseat and prevent them
repeating their sins.
election year is time for revenge.

Mundulation:  a word coined and defined by Harry Nicholson at

     a) Obsolescent: the growth and decay of systems, as in worlds, empires and religions
     b) now in vulgar use for anything that writhes in a confused manner
     c) casting about for excuses
     d) Recently (2009) In a defamatory sense:  allusion to explanations of MPs’ expenses
              claims.  From Latin, mundus: world, and Latin undulant: wave like, rising and



All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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14 Responses to The Tragedy of the Commons

  1. Dark Angel says:

    I’m glad you reposted, as I would have missed it.


  2. zongrik says:

    the other day, i heard people having this discussion in the market about the upcoming election in the US!!

    bonus track


  3. Great word, bad times!


  4. Tilly Bud says:

    I remember this one!

    Great word.


  5. David King says:

    The first stanza is at genius level, I think, but even so the rest is not overshadowed. A wonderful response to what was (I thought!) a difficult challenge.


  6. Ravenblack says:

    No kidding. It’s happening to the whole world. It seems we have been misled for years. So many uncovered to be corrupt and perverse. I just have to say, that I agree with what you say in your poem. Well expressed!


  7. Claudia says:

    mundulation is a very cool word… some gems are discovered “by accident” like a you manage to get it into the oxford dictionary…i’m not getting politicial in my comment 🙂 just say that i liked your poem..


  8. jmgoyder says:

    Great word – mundulation!


  9. hotlyspiced says:

    2013 is when we get to throw out our current Government. Like the countdown to the Olympics, we’re counting the days. Great words, it’s just so tragic it’s all so true.


  10. Money = power …power rules… power corrupts. It’s always been that way and always will be as long as people worship money and wanting more and more of it. I’ll try to use mundulate too. I was trying to get a lot of people to use Fantabulous and quite a few do here now… 🙂


  11. It’s the same here in the U.S.A. Shameless. Unflinchling. Thanks you.


  12. Political and poetical, full of wickedly clever words and a fun neologism. You build great momentum and rhythm with your diction. An excellent example of how carefully chosen words (such a tool of oppression in politics) can serve poetry beautifully.


  13. Susan says:

    I will use mundulation/mundulate happily. I love the song-y-ness, slogan-y-ness of the near rhymes that weave me through the old story of these mundulating monsters who parade as respectable capitalists as if that were possible in politics or out of them. It’s like rapp!!


  14. brian says:

    well this might as well fit here in the americas today…but i dont know we will wisen up any time soon and change the system…its pretty well tied up in the ruling class, bought and paid for by special interest and super PACs…a good bit of commentary viv…


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