In England the handsome Minister with the second
and a half chin and his heart-shaped mind
hanging on his thin watch-chain, the Minister
With gout who shaves low on his holly-stem neck.
In Spain still the brown and gilt and the twisted
pillar, still the olives, and in the mountains
the chocolate trunks of cork trees bare from
the knee, the little smoke from the sides
of the charcoal-burner’s grey tump, the ebony sea-
hedgehogs in the clear water, the cuttle speared
at night; and also the black slime under
the bullet-pocked wall, also the arterial blood
squirting into the curious future, also
the greasy cloud streaked with red in yellow: and,
In England, the ominous grey paper, with its
indifferent headline, its news from our own
correspondent away from the fighting;
and in England the crack-willows, their
wet leaves reversed by the wind; and
the swallows sitting different ways like
notes of music between the black poles on
the five telephone wires.
GEOFFREY GRIGSON (1937)
Comment = Value this poem. How like Syria was the diseased non intervention of the democracies in the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. The sentiment of peace at all costs covering up indifference. Spain excused as fear of the Great War, while making the repetition inevitable. The lakes of blood from Franco’s policy of mass terror. Greasy clouds of chemical gas. The media short term blinkered to the emerging storm, while the swallows already face the longer forecast.