Sunday, July 29, 2007
For Art's sake
For Art's Sake
And I walked beneath the grass
Into a cavern beside the sea.
And the sound was that of brass,
As I went upon one knee.
I cried out in tones of grief,
With a catch upon my breath
`I am come to seek relief,
For we are troubled near to death.'
And arose a mighty clamour
And a bearded face looked forth
Amid the clash of armour
(And the sound of one who snored).
`Had you come when William's knights
Landed on pebbled Pevensey's shore
And Harold's bold, sad wights
Charged wildly down once more;
Had you come when Europe's forces
Answered to the call of one small man,
When the hussars' brave, swift horses
Were the Grande Armee's van;
Had you come in 1940,
With a tyrant at your gate-
A madman shrill and haughty
Filled with dreams of blood and hate-
Then, then we might have helped you,
In your trouble and distress.
As it is, we who whelped you
Contemplate a sorry mess.
What is it, this your trouble?
It is not a few bad men.
Sad though the slaughter, double
Would not bring us back again.
We have seen in dreams unending
The many turning from their lives.
They pursue their hobbies: spending
And the deception of their wives.
We have heard in slumbers tortured
The screaming of their youth;
The abandonment of nurture;
The infanticide of truth.
We have heard your wise men braying
(In our sleep we see them cower)
It's not to God that they are praying
And all they ever want is power.
Alas, your journey's wasted,
And your efforts all for naught.
`Tis a bitter cup you've tasted,
But we'll leave you with a thought.
When means are fair, not outcomes fudged,
When all are responsible, even fools,
When effort's rewarded, ability judged,
When truth's supreme and justice rules:
Then, if you still want us, we will come
And beard your monsters in their den
And vanquish dark, like the heavenly sun.
But I somehow doubt you'll need us then.'
UPDATE: minor edits 2.50p.m. BST 31 July.