Poem: Triumph of the Will

By: David Lohrey

triumph

Our President makes a point of greeting little old ladies
in the White House.
He makes a grand entrance and hugs them.
His wife does a jig. I’ve seen them.
He gives them a medal and congratulates them
on reaching the ripe old age of 100. Astronauts, soldiers, artists
and old women: who could blame him?

Among the many accomplishments, aging is one of them.
Survival deserves attention. Steven Sondheim even wrote a song
about it, “I’m still here.”

But I wonder.

Does the President greet them in his impeccable French?
Does he ask them if they know their lieder?
Do they discuss Greek declensions, debate the proper use of the vocative?
Teddy Roosevelt did, before dying in his sleep five days into the New Year
in 1919.

Our leaders and their earnest followers no longer value education.
They can speak but that’s about it. Few Americans can balance a check book.
Many can barely read and write. I’m talking about those born in the USA.
They eschew 19th century education. They’ve dropped the classics. They
won’t want Latin.

Instead, they’re praised for surviving like raccoons and mealy
bugs. The hive lives. Put your ear to the wall. It’s hot.
The bees create heat. And then they drop.
The ants eat their dead bodies.
The President stands ready to pin a medal on the little old lady’s bosom
and says, “You did it.”

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