01 June 2007

the tree of liberty

if we can answer why must we then ask
those questions to which others must reply
that's not our purpose nor is it our task

rather we seek with soaring hearts to fly
above the common herd and claim our place
where none can challenge the well-spoken lie

not one of us who could with honour face
the grieving mother or the bereft child
instead we order them to know their place

our response must come in words that are mild
that make a show of regret and of ruth
so that we make our questioners seem wild

as long as we don't have to tell the truth
whatever lie we make should sound sincere
if not the editor's at work in his small booth

so set face solemn produce a simple tear
there's nothing like eye-water for a mask
and tell the grieving that you hold them dear

speak in high tones of duty of a noble task
that leads to danger but that must be met
and ignore all the hard questions they might ask

keep your mien sombre and your brow set
into a visage that indicates deepest concern
and hope that they will all too soon forget

all of the waste and come instead to learn
that you are wiser that you know the way
and if they suffer well then it was their turn

their fortune is to bask within your ray
you know the way that things ought to be run
this is your moment your triumphal day

before you're turned to ashes by the sun

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