The Englishman – A Poem by Richard Church – 1942

Wake! Wake, my brother, touch the wall,
Touch the hard world, break from your sleep.
Outside your dream the ominous footsteps fall.
Outside your door the victims weep.
The monster prowls; I hear it pause
On England’s threshold, I hear its claws
Splinter the eastern cliff.

I see our neighbours’ households! One by one
The fangs have fastened on them, drunk
The old, the honoured, the mysterious life
That bred the rich inheritance of blood.
Now that patrimony has sunk
To the thin shadow of the knout and gallows,
And still the glutted tiger has not done.
‘Tis you he scents, your children and your wife,
The treasure of your island. If,
If he should break the bastion, tread the sea,
And desecrate you as he unhallows
With slavery, with death, despair and weeping,
Those who are near you, a wave-width away,
Will you be taken sleeping?


Richard Church (1893-1972), Writer, Poet
Richard Church (1893-1972) *pastel and pencil *38 x 25.5 cm *signed b.l.: Wm Shackleton / Dec 1923


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