Quatrain in Vain

Everyone Popes

Former Pope Benedict XVI has left the Vatican, returning to his former life. But even with the church’s retirement package, how can private citizenship compare? A poem for Mr. Ratzinger.

Credit: That Hartford Guy

We envy not your future, oh former pope,
An existence bereft of purpose and hope.
The long, hard fall into spiritual affliction…
Considered invoking a reverse benediction?

The church has informed you that, when you resign,
They’re going to care for you, keep you in mind.
They’ve offered in good faith a decent retirement:
Full dental and other such papal entitlements.

“The church will provide, your needs will be handled.”
And yet, in the wake of the VatiLeaks scandal,
The question must stand: Is your future secure?
Or your life? Is anything sure, Monsignor?

Should the money fall short and the church take to hoarding,
Just how will His Reverence succeed in affording
The lifestyle to which you have grown so accustomed?
Not to mention your new butler—can you really trust him?

Heavy on infirmity, light on endurance,
This is no time to lose your papal insurance!
Scanning Craigslist ads for your next travail,
Discovering your skill sets decidedly stale.

Sure, you’re on Twitter and Facebook—that’s grand.
But how about Foursquare? What of Instagram?
Your job credibility’s left in the lurch
When some dude named Tomaso’s the mayor of your church.

There’s always the option of Latin teaching
As a safety net for your self-impeaching.
But of all the nine tongues you can banter in,
It’s unfortunate one of them ain’t Mandarin.

And while “Pope” puts padding on your résumé,
Star power declines each scandal-filled day.
The non-profit job market’s hitting the skids.
(And let’s face it: you won’t be working with kids.)

And so it goes, as you curse and cough,
Lamenting the station you just sloughed off,
Surrendering over with fractured pride
The keys to that sweet-ass company ride.

Goodbye to the vestments, so long to the hat,
Hello afternoons at the laundromat.
No longer bedecked in martyr’s-blood red,
Uncertain of what thing to put on your head.

Doing weddings and mitzvahs (shh!) just to meet bills,
(On the bright side, you’ll beef up your dancing skills!),
Eating store-bought bread, drinking two-buck wine,
(Too much of the latter helps pass the time).

You’ve let yourself go, your look’s quite distressing.
That shiny new cassock is poor window dressing.
You’re the first to admit it—in vino veritas
Not quite the same ring to it: “Pope Emeritus.”

Time to leave Rome, roam back to Bavaria,
But even your homeland’s a foreign area.
Poor, sad Benedict, how you must miss the Vatican.

“Bless you, my child. You can say that again.”