14 January 2011

Pieces of intelligence

In the wake of Shake, rattle and custard came, from my brother a couple of weeks back, recommendation for light hearted verse of an entirely different ilk.

Pieces of intelligence: the existential poetry of Donald H Rumsfeld takes extracts from Rumsfeld's public utterances and presents them in verse form. It was published several years ago, when laughter was the only available defence against the blind man's buff juggernaut of international will to war, but I hadn't seen it until now. The laughter is just as welcome now as then, though, and I recommend it.

The book is divided into sections: "Twelve sonnets", "Lyrical poems", and so on. Don't take them too literally; the sonnets are not sonnets at all, the haiku not really haiku; but they nevertheless (perhaps even as a result) add to the depth of the humour.

Here are some extracts.

§ VI: Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for Saddam. Free verse.


It's an enormous country.
You know, it's bigger than Texas,
Or as big, I guess.
I haven't looked lately,
But it is a very big place.

Dec. 23,2002, Department of Defense news briefing
Page 73

§ VII: Songs of myself.

Rappin' 'Bout My 'Tude

I don't get —
I don't get furious.
I get cool.
I get angry!
But not furious!

April 10, 2002, Interview with Martin Kalb
Page 103

  • Hart Seely, Pieces of intelligence : the existential poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld. 2003, New York: Free Press. 0743255976.

1 comment:

Dr. C said...

Rumsfeld lives a couple of miles from me on Mount Misery Road. It is an old slave plantation and, apparently, its owner was quite sadistic. He used to "break" slaves (thus the name, I guess). One of them he tried it with was Frederick Douglass apparently stood up to him (before he was freed). In any case, Rumsfeld is very good friends with my best friend, a 93 year old lady. He pulled her out of a rip tide in the Bahamas back in the 70's when he worked for Gerald Ford. He apparently doesn't understand that many people view him as incarcerated evil. (I won't go to dinner with him)