A day late on this one, but it deserves a wider audience, especially now.
A Short Poem for Armistice Day
Gather or take fierce degree
trim the lamp set out for sea
here we are at the workmen's entrance
clock in and shed your eminence.
Notwithstanding, work it diverse ways
work it diverse days, multiplying four digestions
here we make artificial flowers
of paper tin and metal thread.
One eye one leg one arm one lung
a syncopated sick heart-beat
the record is not nearly worn
that weaves a background to our work.
I have no power therefore have patience
these flowers have no sweet scent
no lustre in the petal no increase
from fertilizing flies and bees.
No seed they have no seed
their tendrils are of wire and grip
and buttonhole the lip
and never fade
And will not fade through life
and lustre go in genuine flowers
and men like flowers are cut
and wither on a stem
And will not fade a year or more
I stuck one in a candlestick
and there it clings about the socket
I have no power therefore have patience.
-- Herbert Read