Sandbagging Fence Sitters
(From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

In Canto Three the poet Dante wrote
Of opportunists never taking sides
But only calculating how to float

Upon the waves of ever-shifting tides
Thus while the crew wash overboard and drown
The chance for opportunism abides:

A tame and tepid course to safe renown
Triangulating through the doldrums’ calm,
With gaping mouths a grinning rictus frown,

The body of the nation they embalm
With their limp, lifeless, bloodless boring air
The poor they toss a single, dented alm

While preaching power-partner pathos there,
And for the price of one proffer a pair

So now the GIs die or lose their legs
And arms and hands and fingers once of use,
Which senseless waste this simple question begs:

Why do our soldiers suffer such abuse
From their own “leaders” absent without leave
Who bravely bray their slogans so obtuse?

Instead of making less poor souls to grieve
Our politician proudly stoops to wipe
The tears of crocodiles from off her sleeve,

And then repeats her clucking, hawkish tripe:
A fetid filthy breeze that only blows
Around a war-slut used too much to gripe;

A virtue lost so long ago it shows;
A rank weed that around the tombstone grows

But still she tries to amplify the sound
Of yet another war for Israel,
Forgetting our dead soldiers in the ground

Who never lived much life before they fell
In service to a cause no one explained
Which she endorsed but never chose to tell

Precisely what this loss for us has gained
A leper innocent without a clue
She stumbles blindly through a world now stained

By her desire to stick like gruesome glue
To wars of choice she says we must begin
For fear that those who duped her will construe

Her silly game as one that she’ll not win
She cannot call it “rape” for she gave in

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2006