The Great War

from Songs & Sonnets for England in War Time, an electronic edition

The Shirker

He moors the skiff within the cooler gloom

Of river-branches, unaware of doom;

Cushioned he lolls, and looks in faces fair,

Nursing with placid hand anointed hair.

It seems he scarcely can uplift the weight

Of summer afternoon, far less of fate.

So the young Briton, sprawling in his strength,

Supports a heavy Sabbath at full length,

Till sinks the sun on more than that sweet river,

Perhaps upon our day goes down for ever.

But though that orb may on an Empire set,

Tomlinson lights another cigarette.

Daily Mail, August 30, 1914


[Suggested by Mr. Robert Blatchford's article in The Daily Mail.]