The Nativity? No.
Something has gone wrong.
There is a hole in the stable
acid rain drips through
onto an absence. Beauty
is hoisted upside down.
The truth is Pilate not
lingering for an answer.
The angels are prostrate
'beaten into the clay'
as Yeats thundered. Only Satan beams down,
poisoning with fertilisers
the place where the child
lay, harrowing the ground
for the drumming of the machine-
gun tears of the rich that are
seed of the next war.
By R. S. Thomas
from Counterpoint (1990) 2. Incarnation
I am younger than the century. A boy, you think,
But I am chained to a machine gun
Capable of ending a thousand lives
And this makes me a man.
There will be no withdrawl.
The officers have warned us:
Here, in our trenches, we fight or die
And no one is to cut me free.
In pity for my situation,
Don’t mistake me. I’m as frightened
As the newly wedded bank clerk we all tease
Who’s never known his wife; frightened
As the English, waiting to attack
When dawn reveals the cratered wasteground
Under my machine gun’s eye
Like, me, they’re chained to cirrcumstance;
The future doesn’t favour deals.
I have to trust my comrades and my gun:
No need to aim this thing. Bring on the enemy.
Let’s see some daylight. Death, release your slaves.
By Tony Lewis Jones