Rudyard Kipling

The eradication of memories of the Great War.”                        


The Socialist Government speaks:

THOUGH all the Dead were all forgot
        And razed were every tomb,
The Worm—the Worm that dieth not
        Compels Us to our doom.
Though all which once was England stands
        Subservient to Our will,
The Dead of whom we washed Our hands,
        They have observance still.

We laid no finger to Their load.
        We multiplied Their woes.
We used Their dearly-opened road
        To traffic with Their foes:
And yet to Them men turn their eyes,
        To Them are vows renewed
Of Faith, Obedience, Sacrifice,
        Honour and Fortitude!

Which things must perish. But Our hour
        Comes not by staves or swords
So much as, subtly, through the power
        Of small corroding words.
No need to make the plot more plain
        By any open thrust;
But—see Their memory is slain
        Long ere Their bones are dust!

Wisely, but yearly, filch some wreath—
        Lay some proud rite aside—
And daily tarnish with Our breath
        The ends for which They died.
Distract, deride, decry, confuse—
        (Or—if it serve Us—pray!)
So presently We break the use
        And meaning of Their day!

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