The Masque of Tyranny: A Mock Epic

by Todd Conrod

I dreamed that when the new year was at hand
Tyranny threw a party for the damned.
The evening was set to begin at eight—
Cornwallis and Antonescu came late;
Caesar talked with Sidmouth and Castlereagh,
And Beria charmed Governor Launay;
Off to the side Mao and Pinochet planned;
Pétain shook Wilhelm der Zweite’s good hand;
While Kissinger asked Thatcher for a dance,
Pol Pot and King Louis played games of chance.
At five to midnight Tyranny stood up;
His aging father Power raised a cup;
The rest all followed suit. “New guests,
My friends, have now arrived from the U.S.
Here’s he who’ll rectify their lack of king.”
That man bent down to kiss old Pᴏᴡᴇʀ’s ring,
And vowed: “It will be such as never known—
With bones of workers will I build my throne—
Make robber bosses barons for their crimes—
And bind the nation in a thin blue line.”
The blessed and the merely passable,
Watching, grew more and more irascible.
U.S. Grant, F.D.R., and Betsy Ross
All found themselves completely at a loss
As Tyranny to their countrymen bowed,
and said: “The U.S.A. has done me proud!”
But then he shrieked—old Power lost his wits—
A stone launched at his crown broke it to bits.
The dead blushed to remember how they fell;
The living hid or scattered with a yell.
The youthful Insurrection, dressed in red,
Armed with a sling, cheered on the troops he led
(Reformers, Mac-Pap soldiers, patriotes,
And Minute-Men, plebeians, sans-culottes . . .),
“The world’s awake! Chicago, Free Cap Hill—
Shrink back, ye Mighty, from the people’s will!
On your graves, Paradise will be rebuilt!”