SPECIAL FEATURE Poem of the Week

NOVEMBER

26

The Return

Roseanna Kettle

 

We do love a crisis. These fortunate days, 

These praise-singing days, 

The plentiful hours 

When corpsemeat’s there to be had.

 

These desperate times 

When all decorum disappears, 

And grown men are so mad with fear 

They’ll point the finger anywhere, 

 

And save for us the streets are bare.

Bright, and strangely clean, 

No live unfathomable mess 

Of human beings – 

 

Just us – as usual, 

We’re dressed to the nines.

Scarce ever caught in the same skin twice, 

Season to season, changing our stripes – 

Hark, the return of primordial days!

The great rewilding – long epoch of peace!

Spread the word! – For we must purge disease.

You’ll find that natural law agrees – 

 

We scavengers-in-chief shall weigh 

Whose life is for the reaping.

We hunger – and for blood we sing –

Who wants to die for a wished-for spring?

 

– No rush – we’ll cull your stragglers 

In time. But for the passing hour – 

Aren’t we dear, aren’t we sweet, 

As we swagger down your street?

Illustration © Helen Geddes