The truly terrible Cold War poetry hidden in the CIA’s archives

“Now that President Ike has returned from lands afar / back to our nation’s capitol, its bright and shining star”

Written by JPat Brown
Edited by Michael Morisy

As we’ve written about before, the CIA’s obsessive scrapbooking led to the preservation of quite a few bizarre artifacts in its declassified archives - and perhaps none are stranger than this collection of terrible topical poems.

The collection, entitled “News, Views, and Reviews,” is the work of one Catharine Silby Oakes, and cursory search of anyone by that name only turns up her copyright registration, and her pseudonym: Scottie, the ballad singer. Who she was, or why the Agency felt there was value in holding on to her verse for a good 50 years, is still a mystery.

As for the poems themselves, they’re a grab bag of Ms. Oakes opinions on various subjects, presented in tortured rhyming couplets. There’s her takes on’ Cold War geopolitics …

some truly painful insight into American race relations circa 1960 …

and her glowing review of the children’s television show Captain Kangaroo, the first lines of which might be the most brutal act of violence captured in the CIA’s archives.

Read the full collection of poems embedded below (at your own risk). Found any more atrocious verse in CREST? Let us know at info@muckrock.com!


Image via Wikimedia Commons