A CAROL IN TIME OF WAR
My cards upon the mantel-piece
are full of winter sentiment;
the English love of amnesties
covers iron blocks with paint
that I may now receive
greeting I don't believe.
A night of neighing bells brings home
to each his little orphan faith;
late as ever, loud with shame,
the altruistic trumpets breathe:
yearly the world expects
a saviour she rejects.
Who may, in pastoral hope of this,
forget the roaring of the gun?
- where in fields and factories
the exhausted flocks are strewn
whose Bethlehem of blood
bears neither star nor God.
I send the usual anodyne
that flatters and propitiates
- the charity of Auld Lang Syne,
tokens, tips, the glow that greets
out annual shuffling of
sixpennyworth of love;
but celebrate, though distant now,
the season that shall conquer it
with steady bond of pen and plough,
song and organ-throated pit:
I summon to the earth
our own undying birth.