Thursday, March 29, 2012

Elegy on a Country's Wild Card

Elegy on a Country’s Wild Card

(with not many apologies to the rather wretched poet Thomas Gray,
and with hopes that you’ll dust off your iambic pentameter ear
{duh-DAH,  duh-DAH, duh-DAH, duh-DAH, duh-DAH},
and with trust that you’ll forgive metric and parodic impertinences {including the indolent decision to change an ABAB scheme to an ABCB one – once  you know I didn’t directly consult the original poem} . . .
  after teaching 18th-century literature forever, I challenged myself to mess with Gray’s “Elegy” from memory alone.  Then again, 18th-century literature was not the most sought-after of courses, so you can look at the original poem here: )

The pundits toll the end of clownish play:
The city is not shining, nor the sea.
A void has opened in the primary season:
It leaves the world to darkness, and Rom-ney.

Farewell to students cleaning high school bathrooms --
Goodbye to colonizing on the moon --
No more self-serving outrage at the press corps --
Newt Gingrich’s left this silly race too soon.

At best, the Speaker had a slender chance.
He surged and burst, then surged and burst again.
A lesser pol might slink away in shame,
But Newt does not resemble other men. 

An ego as expansive as his girth,
Revolving credit, and a staff stampede,
A string of wives proceeded by affairs,
A K-Street business fueled by blatant greed,

An adamantine vow of half-price gas,
‘Big thoughts’ that spanned the crazies’ and far right’s --
As candidate, the Newt was sorely lacking,
His baggage outweighed all of Samsonite’s.

If many modest flowers blush unseen,
Pale violets that shrink from begging votes,
Newt decked himself in orotund bouquets
As big as eco-busting Rose Bowl floats.

The boast of speakership, the pomp of power,
The macrocephaly that comes with rank,
They wither on the vine of bad results;
The paths of glory lead but to the bank.

If you desire a photograph with Newt,
It only costs you fifty bucks a snap.
Throw in another fin, and you yourself
Can join Callista on his ample lap.

If Gingrich reincarnated as a cheese,
What partisanal palette would he serve?
My guess:  he’d be a vain inglorious Stilton
That spreads a funk all over the hors d’oeuvres.

No further seek his merits to disclose,
Nor read his frailties from his beamish looks,
They now revert to what they always were –
A boost to self-regard, and to his books.

So weep for Newton Leroy, he is gone.
(Oh wait – another poem has its say . . . )
I’ll switch to watching baseball ‘til November
When GOP is finally DOA.

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