From ensign to Emperor Bonaparte rose,
From nothing but rags to the finest of clothes
To dress his ambitions, and don’t you suppose
Such a man is applauded wherever he goes?
Yet even though he was the ruler of all
The civilized world he was destined to fall
(What’s civil? What others barbarity call!)
And deep in his coffins his corpse lies quite small.
Another—a rather incurious sort—
Was born to great wealth, with humility short,
And, backed by his father, he liked to cavort,
Mere losses financial a matter of sport.
He knew how to gamble by asking for credit,
Whatever he promised—he never had said it—
And those he defrauded however they pled it
Could not win their case, and eventually fled it.
He hardly knew discipline’s setting aside
To gain an objective—if betting was wide,
His vigorous bombast each fracas denied,
Since bankruptcy court lets so many sins slide.
A conman, he knew that the adage was true:
You can’t cheat an honest man—that’s nothing new!
The most corrupt followers, hardly a few,
Were exactly the voters he tried to pursue.
So well he pursued them they voted him in,
Uncivil behaviors excusing by “spin,”
Evangelist Christians excusing each sin
Integrity mattering less than to win.
In time, even two-bit, ersatz Bonapartes
Like actors, at curtain, relinquish their parts,
And coffins await them, but few grievous starts
Encumber the living or fracture their hearts.
The gullible victims who fell for the scheme,
Corrupt at the start, may continue to dream,
But ashes fall into the peaches and cream
Of falsified hopes that time cannot redeem.
A man may be an emperor or he may be a clown,
But hubris that has climbed too high has got to be brought down,
As karmic adage clarifies: you reap what you have sown,
And castles in the air can’t bring you out of shanty town.