»  National Review Online

December 28, 2001

  An Abecedarian War


America's armies, airplanes, and aces
Boldly, by bombing, blast Bin-Laden's bases.

Carefully Colin corrals coalition—
Dogged, determined, deflects dumb derision.

Every extraneous enmity ends.
Firefighters fall facing flames—freedom's friends!

George gathers generals, grimly gives glower—
History's handed him heroic hour.

Ingenious, insures Islamic inaction;
Jolts jeremiahs—joins Jefferson! Jackson!

Kipling knew Kabul, knew Kandahar's killers;
Longstanding lawlessness, landless land-tillers.

(Millionaire Mike meets municipal mess;
Newcomer, novice—nice, none the less.)

Omar's outwitted our own operation—
Pakistan? Possible prevarication.

Quoted, Qaeda-ian quashes "quit" question;
Ranger ranks rally—Rumsfeldt's redemption.

Savages soon stand surrounded, soon smashed.
Twin towers toppled? Taliban trashed!

U.S.A. urges Usama's undoing—
Video-ed vainglory—vexatious viewing.

"W" won't waver, won't wobble, won't whine—
X-chromosomically x-ed Xmastime!

Yuletide? Year-end? Yanks, yelling: "Yield!"
Zap zealots' zigzagging!—zeroize zeal!

All applaud avenging angel: America!


[Notes. This is a challenging verse form, first launched, on the English-speaking world at any rate, by Alaric Alexander Watts (1797-1864). I tackle it from time to time, with mixed results. I did one for the print National Review at the time of the Clinton impeachment:

Congressional critics cry: "Come clean! Confess!
Don't deny DNA dribbled down dress!"

 … but the editor judged it "unsuitable" for the magazine, I can't imagine why. This one is not bad, scans pretty well, the rhymes or near-rhymes all acceptable or near-acceptable. (Except that I think I got my chromosomes mixed up.) And look! — it begins and ends with my favorite word.]