Consider these, for we have condemned them;
Leaders to no sure land, guides their bearings lost
Or in league with robbers have reversed the signposts,
Disrespectful to ancestors, irresponsible to heirs,
Born barren , a freak growth, root in rubble,
Fruitlessly blossoming, whose foliage suffocates,
Their sap is sluggish, they reject the sun.
The man with his tongue in his cheek, the woman
With her heart in the wrong place, unhandsome, unwholesome;
Have exposed the new-born to worse than weather,
Exiled the honest and sacked the seer.
These drowned the farms to form a pleasure-lake,
In time of drought they drain the reservoir
Through private pipes for baths and sprinklers.
Getters not begetters; gainers not beginners;
Whiners, no winners; no triers, betrayers;
Who steer by no star, whose moon means nothing.
Daily denying, unable to dig:
At bay in villas from blood relations,
Counters of spoons and content with cushions
They pray for peace, they hand down disaster.
They that take the bribe shall perish by the bribe,
Dying of dry rot, ending in asylums,
A curse to children, a charge on the state.
But still their fears and frenzies infect us;
Drug nor isolation will cure this cancer;
It is now or never, the hour of the knife,
The break with the past, the major operation.
Cecil Day Lewis [1904-1972] was born in Ballintogher, Ireland, and was educated at the University of Oxford. In Oxford he became part of a circle of politically radical poets - W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Louis MacNeice that was dubbed "Macspaunday" by detractors on the political right. He worked on modernizing and redefining British poetry. Over time he mellowed, distanced himself from Auden, and became more lyrical. He also wrote detective novels under the pseudonym of Nicholas Blake. he was appointed Poet Laureate in 1968.
Published under the provision of U.S. Code, Title 17, section 107.