A Mistaken Pardon
(after the style of Algernon Charles Swinburne's A foresaken Garden)

In a time of deceit, in an age of unreason,
  The frightened find faith in the fabulous fraud.
Divided and conquered in Fascism’s season,
  The browbeaten buffaloed brandish their GAWD:
A weapon of weirdness when doom encroaches,
  Whom preyed-upon pray to for jobs and a meal,
While the thief who thrives and the prince who poaches
  Smile and steal.

The lies laugh loudly, obscenely spoken,
  As time and the tides for an honest man wait.
If a truthful word should appear as a token
  Of dawn, would the dark not retaliate?
So long have the meaningless mantras befuddled
  The passive consumer in word-magic’s trap
That the ad-man’s slogan has even muddled
  Simple crap.

The duped can’t see when their eyes won’t focus
  On cynics who say what they know they don’t mean;
For duplicity serves as the principle locus
  Of talking-point “dots” so arranged as to screen
The head from hearing no thing but the bellows
  Of nothing much else than the noise we receive.
Should a thought intrude with its doubting fellows,
  None believe.

And yet, as he falters, he still dissembles,
  Since witches once sold him some trifling crumbs.
The one who lit fires in the forest trembles:
  To Dunsinane Castle now Birnam Wood comes.
And those he kicked hardest while climbing higher,
  Ascending to roost at the greasy pole’s top,
Guffaw as the Furies pursuing the liar
  Reap their crop.

The law, as we’ve heard it expounded in verses,
  Presumes us all innocent, absent a proof
Of guilt beyond doubt, as a long line of hearses,
  Gives eyewitness testament, terse and aloof,
To death’s final sentence which no one can question
  And from which no pardon can later on spare
Since Nature, despite any plea or suggestion,
  Does not care.

Yet in our own country, of late, we’ve seen visions
  Of what The Law means when the outlaws in charge
Proclaim ex-post-facto that their bad “decisions”
  Require of them only remaining at large.
And subsidies, too, they demand for their “service,”
  While helping themselves to whatever is left
As “bonuses” stolen while never nervous
  At the theft.

While perched at the top of the heap, The Decider
  Has chosen to pardon preemptively much
That courts should consider infractions wider
  Than just misdemeanors like lying and such.
But too many judges, for lifetime appointed,
  Who think of the Law as “semantics,” at best,
Enable our “leaders” whom they have anointed
  Truly blessed.

The truth turns timid, afraid of facing
  The gargoyle who grins at the trust now betrayed;
So why would the sheep ever think of replacing
  The forces of fraud now against them arrayed?
While memories fade in a flash of forgetting
  And what didn’t happen now screams that it does,
The perps blow their bubbles without fear or fretting,
  Just because....

The talented traders of tripe roll in riches
  Yet swear that – for taxes -- they haven’t a sum,
While Congressmen beg them to scratch where it itches
  And unemployed men by the millions grow numb
To poverty, homelessness, debt and disaster
  As fewer grow richer and more become poor
The fish in their feeding, ever faster,
  Take the lure.

Till the cows come home to the chickens roosting,
  Till hens crow at sundown and pigs take to flight,
Till the world and its woes need a lot less boosting,
  The touts and promoters will hype-up the fight
To customers, baffled, but only too willing
  While hedge funds and "banks" to the government turn
For more money, gratis, which then for a killing,
  They can burn.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2009