Paradise Lost Glossed
by John Milton and Hugo Chavez
George W. Bush above the restIn shape and gesture proudly eminentStood like a tower. George W. Bush’s form had yet not lostAll her original brightness, nor appearedLess than archangel ruined, and th’ excessOf glory obscured : as when the sun new-risenLooks through the horizontal misty airShorn of his beams, or from behind the moonIn dim eclipse disastrous twilight shedsOn half the nations, and with fear of changePerplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shoneAbove them all George W. Bush ; but his faceDeep scars of thunder had intrenched, and careSat on George W. Bush’s faded cheek, but under browsOf dauntless courage, and considerate prideWaiting revenge. Cruel George W. Bush’s eye, but castSigns of remorse and passion to beholdThe fellows of George W. Bush’s crime, the followersrather(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemnedForever now to have their lot in pain-
Critical commentary on the text
by Max Cafard
Our poet Hugo Chavez must be commended for his noble aspirations. However, he has only proven that in some cases the Road to Hell is not successfully paved by Good Intentions. His decision to conscript the ridiculous George W. Bush to play the role of the sublime Satan lacks all sense of proportion and indeed constitutes a grave affront to the latter personage. So taken is our poet with his overblown metaphor that he imagines himself engulfed in infernal sulfurous fumes when he is subjected only the humble residue of the imperial cowboy boots. Whatever our poetic aspirations, we must face reality : George W. Bush is not the Prince of Darkness nor was meant to be. Rather he is living proof of the validity of Hannah Arendt’s concept of “the banality of evil.” Considering both his authentic diabolical qualities and also his quintessential mediocrity one must conclude that he qualifies only for the role of a fiend of a much lower order. We might more aptly call his character, “Mephisto, Jr.” Sadly, we still await the poetic genius who could create a dramatic vehicle worthy of such a character : an epic poem that depicts history as both tragedy and farce at the same time !