The Misfortune Teller ("Déjà-vu, Redux")

Déjà-vu, Redux
(From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

The changing of the guard brought no relief
To those who thought they’d voted out the old.
Instead, the ones who hoped soon came to grief

As pointless wars dragged on, with “new” lies told
That sounded like a replay, word-for-word,
Except for better syntax smoothly sold,

But meaning just the same as ever heard:
The status quo before and after shuns
The merest hint of change, however slurred.

The ones who “lost” kept winning while the ones
Who “won” soon found that they had really not;
That they had bought no butter – only guns.

You’d think that they could figure out the plot:
Not change they wanted, just the same they got.

He said that if elected, things would change;
So, once in office, change he did – and fast.
He pitched his voice just slightly out of range

So that which he had promised in the past
He afterwards could claim he didn’t say.
And, anyway, what virtues ever last

When power won intoxicates all day
And through the night, as well, until the dawn?
The devils, round the clock, come out to play

While sycophants and jesters kneel and fawn.
Our new Prince Charming revels in command
Of armies quartered overseas that spawn,

Through pointless violence, a deadly sand
That now blows back, eroding our own land.

The Law of Karma has a truth to tell:
That actions taken with a bad intent
Reap only consequences bad as well

And he who bombs the poor and won’t relent
Will find himself defending what he can’t
With all the lies the clever can invent.

No matter how well spun the bogus slant,
The recrudescent, bald resort to threat
Will always mark reactionary rant;

And tiresome war waged only on a bet
Has long since raised the overdue alarm.
The bankrupt deadbeat nation now must fret,

That having lost a hand, a leg, an arm,
It now looks poised to lose the whole damn farm.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2009