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​The Mandarin

This song is by Beau and appears on the album When Butterflies Scream (2017).

The Mandarin spoke in a gravelly tone;
"Minister, now that we've a moment alone,
Here in the Department of Foreign Affairs
We all have a maxim that each of us shares.
From Permanent Sec. to most junior clerk,
We understand Ministers must make their mark.
So, even though you're a distinguished high-flier,
Indulge me a moment - I'll bring in the choir!"

The Mandarin left with an intricate bow;
The Minister wondering, "What's happening now?"
It can't have been more than a minute or so
Before he returned with the choir in tow.
There must have been forty or fifty or more
And each of them had their own personal score.
He gave them the note on his old mandolin,
Then tapped with his baton, and counted them in.

Some tell how the sound made the angels rejoice.
The choir was truly in wonderful voice.
They sang a cappella, without compromise
In ways that could only bring tears to the eyes;
Soprano, contralto through tenor and bass,
Performing with elegance, polish and grace,
The choir enchanted, the old rafters rang.
And here, in part, are the words that they sang...

"We have to say better - though some others won't -
The despot we know than the despot we don't!
And though we agree that we might intercede
To counter corruption and obvious greed,
Alas we can't claim to be wholly immune
From bribery, sleaze and the inopportune.
So, best we desist from our scheduled schemes,
Toppling dictators from dishonest regimes."

The Minister lifted his voice in reply -
A glorious tenor, one couldn't deny.
He sang from the heart, as he started, "I know
How often we reap from the seeds that we sow.
I give you this promise; it will be the case -
I say this as one with a dishonest face -
Of all my priorities, none will be higher."
The Mandarin bowed and gave thanks to the choir.