Mar 24, 2014

Dulse et Decorum est. A Lobster's Lament

Dulse Et Decorum Est
A Lobster's Lament.  (with apologies to W.O)

Bent double, like old bait under totes
Knock-kneed, scuttling like crabs, we cursed through sludge,
Till beyond the dangling dredger's clutch, we turned our carapaces
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Lobsters crawled, asleep. Many had lost a  claw, a stalked eye
But limped on, ichor-shod. All went lame; half blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the distant roaring sigh
Of dredged up sediments dropping from above.

SPOILS! Spoils! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of stumbling,
but there is no 'scape. No fitted human masks. No just in time.

Someone, then two, then more were  clattering loud and stumbling
And floundering like shrimp in evil steam.
Dim, through the muddy clouds and dimming thick gray light
As under a gray sea, we saw them: drowning!

In all my salted dreams, before my helpless sight,
They plunge at me, guttering, clawing. Drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
around the foul pile some evil skygod flung upon them,
And watch the antennae writhing in the mud above their heads
Their thrashing claws, like preachers peddling sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling at the muck-corrupted gills,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile mercury salting innocent claws and tails,

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To larvae ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro industria mori.

No comments: