Twelve hundred million men are spread
About this Earth, and I and You
Wonder, when You and I are dead,
“What will those luckless millions do?”
None whole or clean, ” we cry, “or free from stain
Of favour.” Wait awhile, till we attain
The Last Department where nor fraud nor fools,
Nor grade nor greed, shall trouble us again.
Fear, Favour, or Affection — what are these
To the grim Head who claims our services?
I never knew a wife or interest yet
Delay that pukka step, miscalled “decease”;
When leave, long overdue, none can deny;
When idleness of all Eternity
Becomes our furlough, and the marigold
Our thriftless, bullion-minting Treasury
Transferred to the Eternal Settlement,
Each in his strait, wood-scantled office pent,
No longer Brown reverses Smith’s appeals,
Or Jones records his Minute of Dissent.
And One, long since a pillar of the Court,
As mud between the beams thereof is wrought;
And One who wrote on phosphates for the crops
Is subject-matter of his own Report.
These be the glorious ends whereto we pass —
Let Him who Is, go call on Him who Was;
And He shall see the mallie steals the slab
For currie-grinder, and for goats the grass.
A breath of wind, a Border bullet’s flight,
A draught of water, or a horse’s firght —
The droning of the fat Sheristadar
Ceases, the punkah stops, and falls the night
For you or Me. Do those who live decline
The step that offers, or their work resign?
Trust me, To-day’s Most Indispensables,
Five hundred men can take your place or mine.
And that’s the End of the Poem
© Poetry Monster, 2021.
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Poetry Monster — the multilingual library of poetic works. Here you’ll find original poems, poetry translations, ancient verses, ballads and even folk tales.
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Some external links: The Bat’s Poetry Cave. — Fledermaus’s poetry site. Talking Writing Monster. — the irreverent and irrelevant chatter on subjects both serious and not quite. A free for all board. You can scribble anything on it without registration (but it doesn’t let spammers in). You can even post your poems. Qwant.com. — a search engine from France. It’s an alternative because there are a few alternatives, like Bing, Duckduckgo, and Ecosia. And there is Yandex, the ultimate language-oriented search engine for the Russophone world. Commercial Links: Russian Commerce – the foreign trade assistance agency Other links: Poems and poetry in Russian (if you are reading this in English, as you obviously are, then you’d have to switch the language, the language switch is on the menu. More on languages)