For Brigette DePape
This memo's to apologize
Regarding last week's hassle;
On St. Steve's Day, just past sunrise,
I gazed out from my castle.
It was a lovely day, in brief;
I almost had to sing;
How privileged, to be a Chief
Executive and King.
And looking out I saw, that dawn,
Some huts in poor condition
And found myself reflecting on
(Time-honored) our tradition:
Dispensing at one lucky door
A little food and fuel
So as to give the working poor
A nicer time at Yule.
My page was summoned and assigned
The job (it was quite clear):
To search our database and find
Some peasants living near
At whose house we could do a stop
With food and royal crown
(It makes a perfect photo op
And helps keep riots down.)
I saw the kid's eyes lighting up
(Right then I should have known);
He grabbed his pen and coffee cup
And yanked out his iPhone.
(At his request -- to my regret --
I'd had the castle wired
For high-speed wireless internet.
I should have had him fired.)
All day -- he didn't take lunch break --
We heard his keyboard clack
(My PA said, "Oh, for God's sake.
Can I give him a smack?")
And then we saw him every hour
As he popped in to ask
Some question (answered with a glower.
Could he not stay on task?)
Then he was back: to make a fuss.
"About that rural diet --
It's healthier: for Earth, and us.
I quite think we should try it.
The castle banquets: can't we make
Them veggie once a week?
Let's do it for the planet's sake.
(Besides, it's rather chic.)
Our castle's more than --" (On he went;
He couldn't take a hint) --
"Three thousand fifty nine percent
The average footprint.
With global warming, furthermore --"
(I didn't want to know)
"-- We don't have any freezing poor,
Because we don't have snow!"
The kid was driving me berserk
And my prep time was fleeting;
I told him to get back to work --
Just then, they called the meeting.
I couldn't help but feel dismay;
I told him to keep muzzled;
He promised me that he'd obey
(Though he looked rather puzzled.)
But then it happened. On a whim,
Quite to my consternation,
A trusting colleague called on him
To make his presentation.
And (though I now foresaw a tiff)
Could only think "Oh crap…"
As he pulled up his spreadsheet with
The calculator app.
"It's great to stand before you kings;
And as we meet today,"
(He said) -- "I'd like to look at things
A slightly different way.
St. Stephen's Feast: a time of love
For all the human race.
Let's tackle the root causes of
The problems that we face.
Some simple goals (I've chosen three)
Like worldwide education,
And proper sanitation
Would cost a simple fraction
Of the money we make here;
It's time we took some action
To spread lasting Christmas cheer!
To keep Earth within two degrees,
Stop heatwaves and the polar
Melt -- why are serfs still burning trees?
Let's put them all on solar.
We've got to end reliance
On those dirty carbon fuels
As basic climate science
Says (unless we're total fools)."
He'd gotten one thing right, I fear:
The atmosphere was heating --
I couldn't speak for Earth -- just here
Inside the boardroom meeting.
All round the table came the sighs;
I gazed up at the ceiling,
And saw some others roll their eyes
And wince. (I knew the feeling.)
Oblivious, the upstart page
Went on with his digression:
"If we paid serfs a decent wage
We'd fix the world recession.
And in five years (if we're on track)
I can foresee us ending
Most child deaths -- with a slight cutback
In military spending."
Well, that was it. He'd crossed the line.
"Sit down!" All through the hall
The voices rose (and loudest, mine);
The speech became a brawl.
My colleagues all began to shout;
The glares were like a laser;
Security soon dragged him out.
(They had to use the taser.)
So we all know who was to blame.
It's not what I intended.
(In fact I'm deeply shocked; he came
So highly recommended.)
Well, needless to confirm: he's through.
Escort him to the borders,
And find a page who won't try to
Elaborate on orders.
(End of Part 2.)