[from “In the Underworld”]

“In modern wars to satisfy ambition,
The weapons aren’t always deadly arms
With slicing blades or piercing ammunition,
Nor anything that norm’lly kills or harms
(In all but wars of stony, cold attrition).
It’s lack of shame and wealth of cool and charms
That now can make a money-moving don
Of one who knows the Art of Clever Con.

That dandy fellow, looking overfed,
Is Bernie Madoff (who made off with a sack
Of cash)…” I stopped to say, “But he’s not dead,”
And Will replied, “Those bringing utter wrack
And ruin—cons with victims in the red—
Abound. Their count’s too high for me to track.
The name I thought he donned, we now may doff.
What’s key is that he’s eating at a trough.”

I waited for my guide to speak of greed
And carry on about this evidence
That seemed to show a human’s sinful deed
Avenged by holy wrath and Providence.
Instead, he said, “This man will always feed
But never feel fulfilled. Will penitence
Arise from tortures that will never stop
(Like feeding souls until they’re fit to pop)?

How could this torture ever benefit,
Enlighten, or—as some may hope—deter
Those never seeing or believing it?
Despite the righteous wrath this might incur,
I’ll say this torture’s neither right nor fit
For Hades’ worst-behaving mongrel cur.
The foulest people still deserve release.
They’ll find no bliss—at least allow them peace.”


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