Anagrams of Mass Destruction

First written in March of 2005, when weapons of mass destruction were much in the news. A nod of thanks for anagrammatical inspiration to Peter Pereira. Previously unpublished. I also note the words of Martín Espada, from 2006: “If . . . phrases such as ‘weapons of mass destruction’ bleed language of its meaning, then poets must restore the blood to words.” See also Poets Against the War and Remembering Kylan Jones-Huffman. + +

“Who can think without horror of what another widespread war would mean, waged as it would be with all the new weapons of mass destruction?”

London Times, 28 December 1937

Today I set myself the task of finding anagrams of “mass destruction.”

The phrase yields note dim ass crust and I’m not crusted ass.

Looking further, I find sits on crude mats and mast sits on crude,

and also trade suctions, but with a leftover ms.

If I consider “weapons,” it yields one’s paw, nope saw, snow pea,

and awe snop, but what does that mean?

More fitting for “weapons,” it seems, is was open.

And if I consider “weapons of,” and happen to imagine whirled peas,

which is easy if I try, I get of peas now,

which is better than now sap foe.

Adding “weapons of” to “mass destruction”

reveals nope, saw son of sam’s crude tit

or son of sam’s crude tit was open,

as well as, crowlike, foe caws, aims upon trusted son.

But finally, and perhaps with the most satisfaction,

I find sad poem for cussin’ tan o’ west.

If I needed an excuse for a poem, or, say, a war,

looking for anagrams of mass destruction

is as good an excuse as any.

I’m sure there are more, if only I could find them.

If I try yet again, I begin to find no foe, no war, but can’t,

with the country of letters I limit myself to, make the rest of the anagram work.

(To make the rest of the anagram work, in another way, it’s possible to say admits suspects or amidst suspects—or, better yet, stupidest scams.)