Notes from the Perimeter

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Four Sonnets in Search of an Explanation


i

It’s easy of iniquity to speak,
This life is full of villains, to be sure.
Some rogues are ignorant and some are weak
And some are evil to their very core.

The game of politics is one that spawns
A breed of bad guys who might be unique:
Beset by greed or power, they are pawns
On someone else’s chessboard, so to speak.

To judge the worst we sometimes judge the best
And see wherein the diff’rences might lie.
Who suffered hurt perhaps is the best test;
Who profited? – a question to apply.

Sometimes the profiteer will seek applause
By mixing venal gain with higher cause.

ii

Above all, truth is that which we must seek.
Victim or perp (and sometimes they’re the same)
Can be set free if one true word they speak
And say out loud what conscience does proclaim.

The world in which our legislators dwell
Is crazy, yes, but plays by its own rules.
To stand apart, to speak one’s mind, is swell
Unless by that one makes of others fools.

No one a fool can make without consent
And trust is something honest people know.
To say one thing when something else is meant
Is likely to result in quid pro quo.

We can find truth in many forms indeed
But to oneself be true is the right creed.


iii

Judd Gregg, perhaps to show himself a prince
Of peace instead of his own party’s hack,
Did contact Obama and did convince
The new administration of the lack

Of bipartisan cooperation --
“I Commerce Secretary wish to be
So I can serve both you and our nation.”
This move at first did seem to guarantee

A bounty of goodwill that all could reap.
Alas, the Senator seemed to forget
The promises Obama swore to keep.
Gregg cried, “He’s liberal ! That I can’t abet.”

No other reason gave, his name withdrawn,
Come on, dear sir, what’s really going on?

iv

This strange thing became then even stranger,
You say you probably won’t run again.
Was there some threat, some imminent danger
To you, your reputation or your kin?

Perhaps it’s as you said: You didn’t think
About the consequences of your deed:
To fight opposing loyalties would stink,
And doom a fella’s chances to succeed.

But did you not hear your party’s critics
Who said, “That stimulus plan should be dead”?
Or when they cried, “The census they might fix!”
A surge in voter numbers did you dread?

To claim “It’s principle” is as you might
Though saying yes—but no—is all too Right.

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