The Confession of Revenge: rime royal or Chaucerian stanza

There is no good in a war of revenge,
which at best requires its combatants cold
while for its public approval depends
upon hot blood if it is to be sold
(and hue and cry, if the plain truth be told,
is of no use when seeking for amends;
it only serves one’s foes and fickle friends).

Yet vengeance (the Lord’s, still we seek it too)
is the rallying call that excuses
much evil; a feeble pretext or two
can always be found, if one so chooses,
to spot dark designs even if the news is
unclear at best. For war, that which is true
is easily perverted and forced to

serve those who would usurp the common good.
Of course, then it is verity no more –
for those who speak out plainly, or who should,
are quickly lost in propaganda’s roar,
while the conscripted ignorant and poor
(the ready kindling for armed conflict’s wood),
trained to be mute, speak volumes with their blood.

The war machine thrives on retribution,
and so perpetuates its forward thrust;
it seeks for no permanent solutions,
knowing well that any measure of trust
would serve to crumble its dreams into dust.
For vengeful hearts, bloodless revolutions
cannot satisfy or quench power lust.

But a war of revenge cannot succeed.
Its end is not justice, its goal not peace;
and the public support on which it feeds
soon fades. Those that are so quickly fleeced
must, to guarantee their votes, be policed,
lest their swayed minds return to other needs,
and the savor they found in war will cease.

For a war of revenge is a lesson
in mindless carnage and in pointless waste;
and those who counter naked aggression
with its kin, heated anger, have misplaced
their sanity, and with their own acts, erased
shared humanity, and made confession
of their own blind greed and mad obsession.

10 AUG 2003

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*