With apologies to war poets
Ours is not to question, but to guard
against criticism of our betters.
While the necessary worker
arrives in a small white van,
our un-needed treasures
packed in brown cardboard,
ordered on a whim.
Ours is not to question, but to ignore
the anxieties of the unseen.
The unskilled immigrant,
made to feel unwelcome.
And yet with quiet exquisite pride,
she mops the floors
and the brows
of our confused, unvisited relatives.
Ours is not to question, but to depend
upon the harassed shopkeeper
who packs our vital supplies,
passed to him through a
newly erected perspex barrier.
Despite the warning posters, an elderly couple
who should be at home, shielded,
shuffles too close to others.
Ours is not to question, but to twitch
at curtains, berating those next door
who do not clap, bang pots,
and display sufficient signs of adulation.
While stubbornly ignoring a multitude of
sacrifices already made on the altar of austerity
to an insatiable God, whose invisible hand
shapes our every action.
Ours is not to question why our angels
require the efforts of a centenarian soldier
to secure the protection of their faces and families.
And why we cannot see
the connection between our vote,
the unraveling of safety nets,
a hundred thousand dead,
and contracts by the millions to old school friends.
Ours is not to question, but to evoke
the language and spirit of a mythical Dunkirk.
A fog of jingoistic amnesia masks
memories of British horrors past; of lions
led by Eton-educated donkeys.
We learned Dulce et Decorum Est at school. Pro Patria Mori.
A lie for all ages.