The Craven

By Greg Sebring

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary
Over yet another crisis springing from the Balkan War –
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my office door –
"'Tis some intern there," I muttered, "tapping at my office door –
          Monica there and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember Monica in all her splendor,
As each separate dying ember softly glowed on my cigar.
Eagerly I wished to have her; – vainly I had sought to grab her
For the purpose of my pleasure – pleasure on the office floor –
From the rare and radiant maiden whom the networks named "the Whore" –
           Famous here forever more

Although we were being naughty, all the wonders of her body
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic pleasures never felt before.
So that now, to still the beating of impeachment cries entreating,
I must lie or face a beating, beating on the Senate floor –
Lie to everyone or face a beating on the Senate floor.
           This I feared and nothing more.

Gradually we grew much bolder, G'men watching o'er my shoulder,
"Sir," said Betty Currie, "truly your forgiveness I emplore;
But the fact is you have meetings, many people to be seeing,
Yeltsin's called and Yassir's waiting, waiting at the office door,
There's no excuse I can afford you." – here she opened wide the door;
           Intern there and nothing more.

Deep into that office peering, long she stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no secretary dared to dream before.
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Retire."
This she whispered , and I painfully murmured back the word, "Retire?"
          Nodding there and nothing more

Back into her chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before;
"Surely," said I, "surely that is someone at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, who thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
          Subpeona there, and nothing more.>

Open here I flung the shutter and with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a vile Ken Starr to the Oval Office floor;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of man with hate, he paced about my office floor –
Paced upon the Persian rug that laid across my office floor.
          Paced, and stared, and nothing more.

Then this prosecutor beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the stern decorum of the countenance he wore.
"Though thy face is clean and shaven, thou," he said, "art sure no raven,
Ghastly grim and ancient craven wandering from the Nightly shore –
You must testify in court, or I will write a cruel report."
           Quoth my lawyer, "Nevermore."

"Much I marvel this," then said he, "comeback I have heard so plainly,
Though your answer little meaning – little relevancy bore;
For you have no way to stop me, Monica will surely drop me
details that will ultimately send you through the White House door –
You shall leave the oval office, headed to the Senate floor.
           "Impeachment?" I thought, "Nevermore!"

But the prosecutor quickly wrote out his report, and only
One report, as if his soul in that report he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other threats have come before –
On the morrow he will leave me, as the others have before."
           Then Ken Starr said, "Nevermore."

Startled by the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what he states is just a threat and nothing more.
He is just discouraged after his report has brought but laughter."
Falling fast and falling faster, clinging to his written lore –
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
           Of impeachment – nevermore.

But Ken Starr was still persisting, I, with all my heart was wishing,
I had done no wrong, but I was summoned to the Senate floor.
Then, with questions at me flying, I betook myself to lying,
Using all I had, and trying to convince them I was pure –
Trying to convince the country that their president was pure.
           Calm and cool and nothing more.

There I sat, engaged in guessing, but no word of truth expressing
To the men whose fiery eyes had burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sit divining, maybe I should be resigning
But, I feel, I can't give over this authority to Gore
I can't resign if it means giving up my power to Al Gore.
          That will happen nevermore.

Then, methought, the air grew denser, Congressmen engaged in censure,
Swung by Gallup polls whose numbers echoed 'cross the Chamber floor.
"Newt!" I cried, "thy God hath lent thee by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from the dalliance with the Whore,
Quit, oh quit this black adventure and forget the days of yore
           Quoth the Speaker, "Nevermore."

"Counselor!"said I, "thing of evil!--counselor still, (if not the Devil!)—
Whether Scaife sent, or whether Congress led thee to my door,
Right wing bureaucrats undaunted, on this mission you have flaunted,
On your mission I've been haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there balm in Gilead? -- tell me – tell me, I implore!"
           Quoth the counselor, "Nevermore."

"Counselor!" said I, "thing of evil! -- counselor still, (if not the Devil!)—
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore –
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within some distant meeting
I shall clasp another maiden, whom troopers bring to my back door?
Clasp some rare and radiant maiden whom troopers bring to my back door?
           Quoth the Counselor "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign of parting, counselor, fiend!" I shrieked upstarting –
"Get thee back into the maelstrom of your party's right wing wars!
Leave no record as a token of the lies my soul hath spoken!
Leave the masquerade unbroken! -- quit the perch outside my door!
Heed the polls from Internight, and take thee now to Pepperdine's door!"
           Quoth the Counselor "Nevermore."

And the Counselor, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
Near the stately bust of Lincoln just outside my office door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
           Shall be lifted—nevermore!

©Copyright Greg Sebring