Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Can Leopards Change Their Spots?

                        by Jim Rapp

There was never a time
when our leaders were saints;
a time when all of their motives
were unencumbered and pure.
Our founders, whom now we revere,
where men and not angels.
No matter how hard we’ve scrubbed,
their humanity still speaks to us,
in their letters and diaries, speeches
and biographies; revealing the clay
of which they were made.

As pressure and heat reform sand
into igneous, reincarnate,
making hard and useful that which
formerly crumbled at a touch,
so our “great ones”, tried by fire,
were transformed – reborn – shook off –
momentarily at least, petty peeves,
party loyalties, and small ambitions,
to serve a nation through a dozen wars,
through plague and privation,
standing taller than their smaller selves.

So, can we hope, in our time,
that self-proclaimed saints,
debauched by self-serving motives,
can turn on a dime and be pure –
live by the things they say they revere –
once they’ve sworn before men and angels?
Can their record of calumny be erased,
annulled by words and deeds of service?
Can their actions, speaking louder than words;
show that they have learned they are clay –
not potentates, “self-made”?

Can the leopard change its spots?

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