Georges Danton’s Ghost Counsels the Protestors

“Yes, America is burning. But that’s how forests grow.”

–Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General (June 2, 2020)

Georges Danton’s ghost arose from hell
And visited the U.S.A.
He found a group of protestors
And called to them: “One word, I pray—

“America is burning now,
But that’s how forests grow,” he said.
“Before I’d calm your righteous wrath,
I’d sooner see your nation dead.”

“They called my cause ‘the rights of man;’
Your cause is race equality.
But in the end, they’re merely means
To overthrow the polity.

“The meek, they say, inherit all,
Yet meekness is a poor solution.
Just place your foes beneath the boot:
Now you’re on top! That’s revolution.

“You cannot make an omelet
If you’re afraid to break some eggs.
Nor can you change the government,
If you’re afraid to break some legs.

“And if they will not bend the knee
To science and cool reason,
Destroy their towns and kill their cops
And have them tried for treason.

“Grant safety in exchange for risk;
Trade bread and circuses for souls;
Enforce equality by sword;
Curb liberty with strict controls.

“And that should do the trick,” he said.
“Now dare to conquer! Seize the throne!
But mind your head along the way—
The revolution eats its own.”



Rob Crisell is a writer, actor, teacher, and attorney in Southern California. After two decades in publishing, national non-profit work, law, and commercial real estate, he is now a full-time writer and educator. He’s the author of two books: “The Zoo of Animals” (an adventure novel for children) and “Shakespeare’s Book of Wisdom” (an advice book for young adults). He is an outside instructor with the Murrieta Valley Union School District where he teaches poetry and Shakespeare. You can find his TED Talk “How NOT to Hate Shakespeare” on You Tube. He is a lecturer with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. He’s written and performed several one-man shows based on Shakespeare works, including “Red, White & Bard! A Celebration of Shakespeare in America,” “Hamlet’s Guide to Happiness,” and “Romeo and Juliet’s Guide to Love.” He acts regularly with Shakespeare in the Vines. His blank verse adaptation of Sophocles’ Electra will be performed in Southern California in winter 2020. Recently, one of his poems won first place in the Friends of the Falun Gong poetry competition. He is a graduate of Yale University and George Mason University Law School. For details, visit his website at or his You Tube channel.

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3 Responses

  1. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    An eye-opening tour de force of a poem. Every well wrought stanza should serve as a lesson from history. Thank you, Mr. Crisell

  2. Rob Crisell

    Thank you! Maura Healey’s comment was so reminiscent of what revolutionary leaders from Danton to Lenin to Pol Pot to Mao to Guevara have said, I knew there had to be a satirical poem lurking in there somewhere…


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