The Pit of Shame:
A Somme Postscript
by Brendan Gisby
No, not more shallow eulogies
Composed by nameless Palace clerks
To be read by pampered princes.
Nor fake flowers worn in lapels,
That puerile act of contrition
Hatched by the Butcher Haig’s lady.
Nor vigils, nor silent minutes,
Nor gun salutes, nor lone buglers.
They are but gestures to honour
The countless men who gave their lives
So needlessly on foreign fields
In the names of King and country;
Gestures to honour the slaughtered,
But not to avenge their murder;
Commemoration sans reproach,
Sans blame, sans recrimination.
So how should we avenge those deaths?
Like Baldrick, I’ve a cunning plan.
Go seek the graves of the culprits:
Of the Monarch, the Cabinet
And the Generals – all of them,
But Butcher Haig’s first, always first.
Then dig up their bones and pile them
In a higgledy-piggledy heap.
Cart the pile of bones to London,
Where at the gates of the Palace
Dig a deep pit, the Pit of Shame,
In which to deposit the bones.
Leave the pit open for all time
To fester and to putrefy,
Its stench carried in the four winds
To the nostrils of the elite.
Then invite the working people
From the Great War recruiting grounds
Across this disunited land
To journey to the Pit of Shame,
There to spit on the rotting bones,
Great gobs of phlegm rained down on them
For all generations to come;
The carnage avenged, brave, dead boys!
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