Lit Crit

The Neocon Lyre

October 12, 2008

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What a Rich Pyre!, by Russell Setiz Being a poem in the style of “Under Which Lyre?” WH Auden’s adieu to WWII, which Norman Podhoretz ought to have read before taking the poet’s name in vain in his epic fantasy, World War IV.

 

The Bushies at last have quit the field, The Weekly Standard’s bloodstains yield    To seeping showers, As in their convalescent state The Neocons associate    With Thomas Powers

 

Encamped upon the college plain Neither Kristol can explain    What Strauss endorses; Nor Hanson with Laconic tongue Shepherd the battle-weary young    Through Persian courses.

 

Among the shattered appliances Of the darker arts and sciences      They stroll or run, As those that steeled themselves to slaughter Aim their laughter at the shorter      Odes of Frum.

 

Professors back from Baghdad’s frissons Resume their proper eruditions,      Though some regret it; Although Kevlar can be hot , They wore theirs indoors, and will not      Let you forget it.

 

So did we all, but Zeus’ decree About the will-to-disagree      Is now pandemic, Ordains all calls to Recht und Ordnung   Should fall as flat as waterboarding,        Though treason’s endemic,

 

Ares will doze. A worse war Internecine flares once more    ‘Twixt those who’ll follow Cheney all the way And those who now with qualms obey      POTUS Apollo.

 

Brutal like all Olympic games, Though fought with smiles and Christian names      And less dramatic, This dialectic strife between The Neocons could be foreseen,      As more fanatic.

 

What high immortals do in mirth But amplifies the Beltway’s girth;      Where a-historic Antipathy forever gripes All ages and somatic types,      ‘Tis sophomoric

 

To face the future’s darkest hints. Young J-Pod scarfs another blintz      As stout as Cortez, So not to think, and thus turn pale, On how a target like a whale       Invites cruel sorties

 

Though shot towards heaven in the halls Of Neo-periodicals      By erstwhile friends, The tracer fire of small magazines Often rips through grunt Marines      As it descends.

 

So Editors we see today Can only do their best and pray         Wars really oughtn’t From Euphrates ever shrink; Lest someone somewhere pause to think         It’s not important.

 

If such would leave the world alone, Apollo would smile from his throne,       Fasces and falcons He loves to rule, has always done it This lot would be hard pressed to run       A summit in the Balkans.

 

For jealous of their godlike dreams, They persevere in secret schemes         To rule the heart; Unable to invent the lyre, Create with simulated fire         Official art.

 

Yet when in one Chicago college, Truth’s replaced by arcane Knowledge;    Sense may take offence, And Democracy’s Nirvana Pay the price: Hart’s for Obama    And Buckley Bush repents.

 

Yet still our arms, we must confess, At least on Fox show some success,      Though Islam raves From Indus to Hormuz, and the news In lesser New York book reviews       Is very grave.

 

Rush Radio hammers all day long Its over-Whitmanated song      That does not scan, With adjectives laid end to end, Like rolling Oxycontin to commend      Chicago Man.

 

Their Policy’s no lyric thing, Devoid of sport, and love and spring.      All blood and bluster In the White House, Spartan bards Rehash 300 into yards      Of epic filibuster.

 

In fake Hermetic uniforms Behind our battle-line, in swarms    To warm the fighting, Neo-existentialists declare That they forswear complete despair,    And go on writing.

 

No matter; they shall be defied With Aphrodite at our side:    What though they let In Intel quite diseased Zeus willing, honest NIE’s,    Shall beat them yet.

 

So in our morale must be our strength. If we are to behold at length    Routed Osama’s Last battalions melt away like fog, Eschew The Weekly Standard Decalogue,    Of melodramas:

 

Do not as the West Wing pleases, Write not any doctor’s thesis    On abstinence education, Whilst electing, thou and thine To lie, Anne Coulter-like, supine    Before Administration.

 

Neither fib to questionnaires Or quizzes on K-Street affairs,    Nor in compliance With statisticians fit In false knowledge, nor commit    To deny science.

 

Thou shall not be on friendly terms With focus groups and PR firms Who fear the Muses far too much To read the Bible for its prose. Nor, by Jove, make love to those Who worship such.

 

Let them live beyond their means On Tigris water and raw greens.    If you must choose Between tickets, follow Reagan’s muse. Forget Faction. Trust in God,    And take broad views.

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