The Craven

(with Apologies to the Great Mr. Poe)

Once upon a nation weary, overcome by violence nearly
Every week, the news revealing stories of what once was rare.
I went searching for some solace; something more than bland condolence,
Some new light that might console us; answers so we might repair.
Our elected leaders must have answers so we might repair!
All I found were “Thoughts and Prayers.”

After Newtown I was certain, that this cost we’d no more burden.
That the lives of twenty children was a price beyond unfair!
Though the talking points were heated, when the tempers had receded, 
‘Sacred Rights’ were undefeated, as the statesmen would declare.
Anxiously I asked the statesmen ‘What have you come to declare?’
Quoth the Craven, “Thoughts and Prayers.”

Then Orlando reawakened hardened rhetoric unshaken.
“These lives must not be forsaken simply for the right to bear!”
Yet the same familiar script, from cynics mouths so calmly quipped,
Belied the hope they might have slipped the eyes of zealot millionaires.
Angrily I begged for reason from the zealot millionaires…
Quoth the Craven, “Thoughts and Prayers.”

Perched behind the hotel window, none could see the man within. No
badge nor cowboy could prevent the shots that pierced the desert air.
Crying, nearly apoplectic, “Might this spawn the dialectic?”
“Might we finally reflect upon the ways we’ve gravely erred?”
“Is the zealots' reading of the founders' meaning gravely erred?”
Quoth the Craven, “Thoughts and Prayers”

From a rural Texas church, into my Facebook feed it lurched,
And once again in vain I’d search to stay this slide into despair 
“For,” I asked with rage demonic, “could these feckless histrionics
possibly be more ironic, than if God himself were there?”
“Dare you say it? If, among the bodies, God were standing there!?”
Quoth the Craven, “Thoughts and Prayers”

“Cowards!” said I, “Spineless weaklings! — cowards still, sincere or scheming!
Well-intended or deceiving: save your words, your thoughts, your prayers.”
How much more of this stagnation? How much death upon our nation?
Please, at least a conversation, not this constant laissez faire.
Please, let’s speak of legislation! End this deadly laissez faire!”
Quoth the Craven, “Thoughts and Prayers”

Campaign coffers unaffected, re-elected — re-elected! — 
They’ve no motive to correct old ethos to which we fall heir.
So our obsolete “militia” falters on devoid of mission
What, then, can I say when we pass on this nation to our heirs?
How can we pass on this fractured, violent nation to our heirs? 
Guilt, not arms, is what we’ll bear.