Je Ne Regrette Rien

I don’t know why I chose to pin
My colours to your mast
For this was a war I could not win
A river in which I could not swim
Your reputation is destroyed
The dogs of vengeance are deployed
The newspapers snoop and vultures swoop
Picking over your remains, saying,
‘Go on defend her if you must
But be assured we’ll grind you into dust’
Yet I did not elect to join the winning side
I did not elect to be swept away by the tide
But still I was sucked in and swallowed whole
I dutifully played my allotted role

They say you hated her
I disagree. I saw you
Foraging for affection
On the day of my defection
You did not ask for much
But she was far too delicate to touch
As incorruptible
As a wedding dress
As pure as an ivory rose
With bright, white petals
Defying the darkness
But she was so hard to impress
Enmeshed in the webbing
Of purity, of perennial insecurity

She is somehow seductive
Gentle, subdued and soft-hued
She was the stone wall you clung to
Like creeping ivy and wandering
Through the wilderness you needed to be close
To the stillness at the centre of the whirlwind
She has never sinned
Ambivalence made no sense
And this was the consequence
The two of you are dissected, then polarised
And you are transformed in their eyes
Reduced to the status of saint and sinner
One spoilt, the other serene
One corpulent, the other lean

You are despised, she is idolised
You are sour as curdled cream
She epitomises youth and truth
A sycophant’s wet dream
She is so easy to adore
This is all that remains
A drowned world
A planet aflame
Much has been lost,
And little has been gained
But I do not regret a thing and if I had to
I would do it all again because even the devil,
Yes, even the devil
Deserves an advocate

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