Poetry

A Last Message from Your Leaders; Respected Poet

 We have made ourselves shelters, deep underground shelters

One hundred and fifty feet down,

Each the size of a house, and, at thirty-three thousand,

This counts as a fairly large town.

What we’ve got is an Oxford, an underground Oxford

Prepared in advance of the crisis:

Like the beat of a drum it will come: as shares plummet

With rising commodity prices

Which will trigger a slump in demand and the dumping

Of consequent overproductions,

Bringing general disquiet with rapine and riot

And other regrettable ructions.

I mean lootings and arsons, garrottings of parsons,

Gang-rapings of teachers and nuns,

Major terrorist strikes—you’ll have not seen the like

Since the sacking of Rome by the Huns

When the heathen barbarian, strictly non-Aryan

Bow-legged boys from the Steppe

Put the troops of the Lord to the fire and the sword

With their vigour and courage and pep.

It’s an old-fashioned way we could do with today

With your armies of Socialist Workers,

Who just sit on their bums, while rotating their thumbs

And convening committees of shirkers.

In the fret and the fuss when the bombs drop on us

Or, in truth, when the bombs drop on you,

With us safe underground there’ll be no one around

Who can tell you poor sods what to do!

And you know what? It’ll serve you right!

We have made ourselves shelters, deep underground shelters

One hundred and fifty feet down,

Each the size of a house, and, at thirty-three thousand,

This counts as a fairly large town.

What we’ve got is an Oxford, an underground Oxford

Prepared in advance of the crisis:

Like the beat of a drum it will come: as shares plummet

With rising commodity prices

Which will trigger a slump in demand and the dumping

Of consequent overproductions,

Bringing general disquiet with rapine and riot

And other regrettable ructions.

I mean lootings and arsons, garrottings of parsons,

Gang-rapings of teachers and nuns,

Major terrorist strikes—you’ll have not seen the like

Since the sacking of Rome by the Huns

When the heathen barbarian, strictly non-Aryan

Bow-legged boys from the Steppe

Put the troops of the Lord to the fire and the sword

With their vigour and courage and pep.

It’s an old-fashioned way we could do with today

With your armies of Socialist Workers,

Who just sit on their bums, while rotating their thumbs

And convening committees of shirkers.

In the fret and the fuss when the bombs drop on us

Or, in truth, when the bombs drop on you,

With us safe underground there’ll be no one around

Who can tell you poor sods what to do!

And you know what? It’ll serve you right!

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