THE LESSON

He looked, with zeal across his no-fly zone,
On simple foreign folk on their oil field,
And sent his aide; the aide returned alone:
Unsanctioned trade they'd have, yet nothing yield.

Yet he had planned such future for their youth:
His dove-like duty now was to compel;
For later they would come to love his truth,
And own their gratitude. Two eagles fell.

It did not work: his occupation irked
The folk who, starved and looted, by grimaces
Displayed disgust at his well-meant embraces;

But from both eagles they learned, though unwilling,
Behaving as they had behaved, and worked
To lengthen new decades of needless killing.

                    (Apologies to W. H. Auden)

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