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ON the recent contretemps, aka federal gov't shutdown:  There are those who can still joke:


Oh bother, said Pooh.

But at this latest punitive farce, when hundreds of thousands of people were about to held hostage (see E.J. Dionne's "Lessons from the Catch-22 Shutdown," The Washington Post, January 25, 2018) indefinitely because a deadly obstinate moron never changes vile bigotry once it enters his brain, Empson's lines kept coming back into my mind until I found the whole poem. Nothing less would do:

Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
It is not the effort nor the failure tires.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is not your system or clear sight that mills
Down small to the consequence a life requires;
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.

They'll bleed [their] dog dry [yet greed says "More!"]
For ["illegal"] dog blood [you see] they don't want.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is the [prison] tombs and the slag hills
Usurp the soil, and not the soil retires.
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.

Not to have fire is to be a skin that shrills.
The complete fire is death. [Thugs  and [ICE] makes
The waste remain, the waste remain and kill.

It is the [future] you have lost, the ills
[You are enduring now,] at which the heart expires.
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

As one of the thousands of hostages whose bimonthly income was directly threatened ... what mean fun games Trump and his associates know how to play.

Miss Drake

NB:  Changes to make the poem more to the point are in brackets       

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