A politicians ethics, publicly displayed,

like a butchers missing thumbs becomes

a potent symbol of their bloody trade.

Of course, they weren’t just clumsy. No, no!

Sacrifices must be made, they shrug,

in every Big Crusade!

Indeed, in every shady little back-room deal

they shave a bit away.


Yes, politicians tend to cheesepare their consciences,

After all,

it has to last their whole career.

A clever man who wants a future

doesn’t sell his whole soul in one big chunk.

Oh no! They want to make it last!

Its like

when you roast a chicken,

you save the scraps for sandwiches the next day.

Afterwards, what’s left of the carcase

can be boiled down for stock,

a greasy, bubbling stew

but nothings wasted, that is true,

and though the splinters may stick in their throats,

the dogs just love the bones to chew.




Book of the Week

Napoleon’s expedition to Russia”-The memoirs of General de Segeur (edited by C.J. Summerville)

amidst the stumps of broken trees, on ground trampled by the feet of the combatants, furrowed with balls, strewed with fragments of weapons, tattered uniforms, overturned carriages and scattered limbs..the Emperor could not pass along the front without having to tread upon corpses and bayonets twisted by the violence of the shock. But over all these horrors he threw a veil of Glory”-de Segeur

 First published in 1824, this first person account of Napoleons doomed attempt to conquer Russia is a classic study of political hubris. Motivated by no better reason than the pursuit of “Glory”, Frances ‘first citizen’ led 500,000 men into the depths of Russia, six months later some 20,000 stumbled back, starving, dressed in rags, shattered in mind and body, with “General Winter” nipping at their heels. The emperor himself had abandoned them, zipping back to Paris in a comfy carriage to try to maintain his grip on power. It made no difference, this ill advised campaign marked the beginning of Napoleons downfall.

This book confirms my long held belief that any historical personage who has acquired the title, “The Great” (as in Alexander the Great, Pompey the Great, Peter the Great etc., etc) is by definition a bloodthirsty psychopath who only achieves the heights of ‘greatness’ by climbing the stacked bodies of their victims. Napoleon is no exception.

 Tales of courage and horror abound in this gripping account, and over all hangs a sense of futility. Increasingly ignoring logistical realities and the warnings of his advisors,

Napoleon increasingly relied on his “Star”, his belief in his glorious Destiny, to overcome all difficulties, even as it became increasingly obvious his campaign was doomed.

If nothing else, this book highlights the inadvisability of invading Russia. Hitler should have read this account before his doomed attempt. But then, Hitler, like Napoleon, was a creature of his own hubris, and probably would have learned nothing from history. Who needs proper winter uniforms when you have a Great Leader with Vision, eh? Kevin Rudd take note.

 This book is also probably a recommended read for anyone into the computer game series “Total War”, particularly “Total War- Empire”, with its Napoleon expansion pack. Ah! Now thats the way wars should be fought! Sitting in front of the computer in a comfy chair with lots of snacks & drinkies! “General Winter”, do your worst!!


The Reverend Hellfire is a practising performance poet and an ordained member of the Church of Spiritual Humanists.



~ by reverendhellfire on May 16, 2010.

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