Handle With Care
by Roger Elkin
Awaiting our doom in the cold and the half-light,
we tousle-headed ranks implore you to treat us with care:
for though we know we may have taken more than our share
of land, of money and even someone else's sun and light
we believe there's no need to take our heads.
So treat us gently, giving us food and drink, and even
a spare penny or two to make our days more pleasant
before death. And, more than anything, we beg you
do not hang us up to die.
Please treat us gently. For we think a severed head
serves no purpose, has no use except as in Salome's days
to adorn a table; and, in any case,
the lime which you use
to destroy finally our executed glory has been put quietly away.
So treat us carefully. Gently handle and save our heads –
for till the long snows have gone, there will be no more
garden-blooms after we last few chrysanthemums.
©2009 Roger Elkin
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