Elegy for Bettino Craxi (1934-2000)
- Bettino Craxi was leader of the Italian Socialist Party
and Prime Minister. He went into exile in 1994 and died in Tunisia.
Poor Bettino Craxi, you’ve been taken to your grave
and we won’t see your likes again.
Your social democratic bones were barely cold
when your obituaries began to bitch.
All week long it’s been bitch, bitch, bitch.
But the rabble who’ve dragged your name through dirt
wouldn’t know justice if it wrapped them up,
all nice and safe, in a concrete overcoat.
From that hot night at the Hotel Midas, Rome
when you first got your paws on the laurels of office
you were guilty of nothing but doing the unthinkable
so loud, the voters heard about it.
You made quick work of the hammer and sickle:
“Outdated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs.”
Your single red carnation had such style
it made Blair and Mandelson cry.
Done with ideology, it was time
to bring on the dwarves, the dancing girls.
You gave them what they wanted,
filled the party with the people
any realist must do business with.
Pop intellectuals joined dubious financiers
and bogus architects. Oprah Winfrey
met Bernie Madoff in a house designed
by Ruari Quinn, and talked Italian for a bit
with the more vulgar fringes of the new rich.
Too many workers’ representatives
settle for just a share of the profits.
You weren’t satisfied with a bigger slice.
You took the lot, and kept it all for yourself.
And we will see your likes again.