Yale University

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Gerry Shea '64 waxes poetic on Iraq

A Destination Funeral

by Gerry Shea '64

Can you see the tank across the plain?
There it is, it's there again,
Moving fast through dirt and dust,
The hearts aboard all filled with lust,
"Their army's lost, the guard is slain!"

There inside the open turret,
Smiling, waving, brandishing swords
Yields a scene — surreal were it
Not for their power to muster hoards.

Atop the tank stands Wolfowitz,
Beside him Feith and Perle,
Prepared to blast to tiny bits
Whatever Arab, boy or girl,
Dare obstruct their forward whirl:
     "The flags unfurl!
     All praise aloud our victory
     We're here to kill
     To make you free."

Yon Cheney sits astride the tank
Cooking up a modern Frank-
enstein Lon Chaney'd never play —
A war for which he'd never thank
This dunce of unknown college rank.

There on fender, tall she stands
A banner clenched in both her hands,
Barebreasted Condoleezza Rice
Would victory from the plains entice
As would a modern queen a-
dorned with casque of sharp Athena
were't not set upon a duller head.
Though wont is she so oft to dress up
She's vowed to destiny "Shan't Mess up!
O tame ye, friends, your mouths and minds,
We've maimed ten thousand men at least —
The birthblood of the Middle East!"

Lo the mighty wheel is held
In deadly grip by proud Rumsfeld
Hubris, Até, Nemesis
"Don't let the prisoners take a piss!"
Waving a false and empty flacon
His standing and his soul to blacken
Rides th'obedient General Faust
Brave Powell once, now Mickey Mouse.

Can you see the tank? Can you see its gun?
They're singing all in unison
"Hail to the Chief!"
Our freedom's thief
Filled to the gills in barbecued beef.
As they sing of carnage, arms and men
We dip in blood our worn-out pen
     These men to scourge,
          Compose a dirge
               Lament those rent by suffering's surge.

"Hail to the Chief!
Ye filistiniyya
Gee it's gonna be good to see ya
Locked within your squalid camps
Without your toilets, shoes and lamps,
Or cold and homeless forced to slither
Fast across the Jordan River."
Behold their tank, their souls embedded
     Those who've brought the day we've dreaded
          Our boys now served to their deaths' knell
               Not for the sake of liberty's bell
                    But, on a plate, to Israël.

Can you see the tank, can you see it now?
It's crossèd prow
     is racing ‘cross the plain.

Above the turret gun Rice stands her
Shapely foot upon the Panzer.
Rejoice they all most brave and glad
With their old pal Zal Khalilzad.
O tragic truth is hard and sad:
     They think the world's been easily had.
          But the road is bad, the plan is mad,
               And they're not off to seize Baghdad,
                    But ruin and death ―
                         in Stalingrad.