Friday, 16 December 2011

12 Days Before Christmas Poems

Christmas Ode III
(after Arnold)

Go, for they call you, Shephard from Westminster;
   Go, Shephard, and untie the battled knots:
      No longer leave thy shattered flock dismal,
   Nor let thy bawling fellows fill their throats hot
      From full glasses, drunk as if that is all
         It takes to administer;
   And your tired men and women need a rest,
      And only the white flags are seen
      Waving across your initiative-pocked battlescene;
         Come, Shephard, and again renew the quest.

Here, where past reapers planted their hate,
   In this darkened corner where Ministers leave
      Their coats like a shed skin and pass on the bruise;
   Where only a new sun and morning can bind the sheaves
      Of hope, then here can come back common sense to use;
   While to our ears from beyond our sway
      The bleating of fellow flocks is borne
      With distant cries where the reapers left them shorne -
         All the echoes from so many of those days.

- 1996 -

[NB Gillian Shephard was the then Tory Secretary of State for Education and Employment]

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