Useful Idiot
(after the style of John Donne's "The Triple Fool")

I was two kinds of fool:
The statesman’s dupe, the conqueror’s tool,
A bitter Ambrose Bierce.
A “patriot,” of sorts, more dumb than fierce,
Whom once a lie could pierce
Too easily – but knowledge not so much.
Yet I might fetter grief, I thought, with verse;
Vex hate with rhyme and use that as a crutch;
Tame with alliteration bad and worse;
Allay with assonance the guilt and grime
While accents, like the heart or drum, beat time.

Yet this, too, I accept:
The goad to prove oneself adept
At standing ground (one’s own)
With little wit and and sounds-of-words alone
Which used like “rock” and “stone,”
Can do a double duty, rough and smooth,
Inflicting on the powerful who lied
Rude rhetoric; them sting; their victims soothe;
Who had good luck escaped, who didn’t died.
Ex-patriot, expatriated, free;
Once fooled by "war" for wealth. No twice for me.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2019