The Jester has the final word

This is a poem I wrote after Stephen Colbert spoke at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. I recently found it in an old post on a former site, and decided it was worth sharing.

If the powerful sit silent
And the common people cheer
You know all you need to know
About the words just spoken here.

While Cheney plays at Merlin,
And Don at Lancelot,
Steve Colbert is the Jester,
Whose humor masks a shot

To tell King George he’s naked
(the truth at last exposed),
Bereft of moral clothing,
His kingdom all but closed.

“Ha ha — a joke, told by a knave,”
The king and knights exclaim,
“Why should we take him seriously?
Has he our might, our fame?”

And yet, e’en as they protest,
And fain to look away,
The bead of sweat, the compressed lips,
Do more than they can say

To show how deep the Jester’s words
Have cut into their soul.
They know he speaks the truth — they know,
As faint they hear the toll

Of the funeral bell of history,
And the judgment they deferred,
As, one more time, the Jester
Has the final, truthful word.