Peasant And King

by Christopher Morley

Christopher Morley

What the Peasants of Europe Are Thinking

You who put faith in your banks and brigades,
Drank and ate largely, slept easy at night,
Hoarded your lyddite and polished the blades,
Let down upon us this blistering blight--
You who played grandly the easiest game,
Now can you shoulder the weight of the same?
Say, can you fight?

Here is the tragedy: losing or winning
Who profits a copper? Who garners the fruit?
From bloodiest ending to futile beginning
Ours is the blood, and the sorrow to boot.
Muster your music, flutter your flags,
Ours are the hunger, the wounds, and the rags.
Say, can you shoot?

Down in the muck and despair of the trenches
Comes not the moment of bitterest need;
Over the sweat and the groans and the stenches
There is a joy in the valorous deed--
But, lying wounded, what one forgets
You and your ribbons and d----d epaulettes--
Say, do you bleed?

This is your game: it was none of our choosing--
We are the pawns with whom you have played.
Yours is the winning and ours is the losing,
But, when the penalties have to be paid,
We who are left, and our womenfolk, too,
Rulers of Europe, will settle with you--
You, and your trade.

Last updated November 03, 2022