Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Poem: Burr - Misunderstood American

Burr – Misunderstood American

I am not throwing away my shot

Fateful day where aim was true
A shot was “thrown” to much ado
But was that more contrived excuse
Preparatory actions one might deduce
Determined foe who would not relent
Though ample chance was underwent
Hamilton more did instigate
‘Twas Burr who penned to mediate
Slurs sprung forth in Alexander’s wrath
Burr’s cool hand sought other path

I am not throwing away my shot

History makes Burr a shifty fiend
But to strike a deal was how he leaned
A politician, true, with all that hints
No more, no less, men before or since

Rivals conspired to ruin his name
First New York then Virginia same
1800 did not connive to steal
Campaigned for “Jeff” with fullest zeal
He was cast aside by the doubting Thomas
Career was lost, a broken promise

I am not throwing away my shot

Ventured west in a fevered state
But not the traitor that became his fate
Filibuster goal was a common theme
Of Spanish lands many eyes would glean
Though foolish in his ill-laid action
To split the nation was no attraction

His legal mind was marked outstanding
For middling classes sought better standing
And while quite the scoundrel in romantic fares
For women’s rights had fewest peers

Burr was flawed like any man must be
Yet much is lost by history
Reduced to villain by word and song
Lin Manuel, a genius, gets so much wrong
Most profiles writ hold Burr stained quite unfairly
We’ve heard his name but know him barely

He did not throw away his shot/He threw away his shot

Copyright SGW 2018

Footnotes: Based largely on information from Nancy Isenberg’s biography “Fallen Founder – The Life of Aaron Burr.” Repeated line from the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

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