Epitaph on a New Model Air Force

Here’s my deadly serious parody of A.E. Housman’s “Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries” (1922), prompted by its posting at Corey Robin’s blog on the occasion of the NY Times front-page article (by Elizabeth Bumiller) about the Drone pilots who kill suspected terrorists from remote locations, both geographically and emotionally.

On the night we knew the heaven was falling,

We watched the stars scrape the sky, and we thought it was lightning,

But the earth was moving too,

And so, as we watched these mute soldiers collect their pay,

We knew this sky could not stay long suspended,

For God’s offenses had come due.


Here’s the original:


These, in the day when heaven was falling,

The hour when earth’s foundations fled,

Followed their mercenary calling,

And took their wages, and are dead.


Their shoulders held the sky suspended;

They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;

What God abandoned, these defended,

And saved the sum of things for pay.


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