throckmorton smoking a pipe, barker pacing.
a bad business.
indeed it is.
beastly, absolutely beastly.
and will probably get more beastly.
heads will roll over this, i warrant.
yes, if there are any heads left to roll.
no doubt. ah, here’s merton. any signs of life from 3rd brigade?
nothing, sir. should i send some scouts out?
no, not yet. keep me informed.
beastly, absolutely unsupportably beastly.
perhaps you should have a scout sent out.
why don’t you go, take a look around?
should i tell off a couple of men?
no, just take a look around yourself.
and one will be on his toes, and will look sharp, and not look for the other fellows to spot something.
yes, i expect that is so.
so be off with you then.
ah, there you are, harris. anything to report?
someone will get the sack for this.
yes, if there is anyone left to get the sack.
ah, what i wouldn’t give to be in my club right now, with a warm brandy in front of a roaring fire!
why don’t you go out and take a look around?
should i tell off a couple of chaps?
no, go by yourself. i just sent barker out. if you see him going in one direction, you go the other.
there were other people there
pope alexander vi was there,
or maybe it was pope innocent iii or mark antony
billy graham was there
or maybe it was john dillinger or woodrow wilson
and blackbeard the pirate
or maybe it was genghis khan or david hume
and florence nightingale
or maybe it was margaret mead or phyllis schlafly
there are a lot of people in heaven
it can be hard to tell them apart
anyway all these people
many of whom
had so much to say for themselves
and we all sat there silently
staring at our feet
or at the magazines on the table
simone de beauvoir
or maybe madame chiang kai-shel
handed me the august 1937 issue of the national geographic
would you like to look at the august 1937 issue of the national geographic?
i had energy
now i’m tired
i was cool
and now i’m wired
i had the world
spread out before me
but then my friends
began to bore me
i had a friend named lou
who knew just what to do
and another friend named cole
who wanted to save my soul
i had a friend named clyde
who took me for a ride
and a friend named brad
who took everything i had
friends and enemies
vanish in the breeze
i wish i had more friends
but the dream never ends
they should stop fighting wars
and dropping bombs
and making money
and trying to get ahead
and thinking other people are different
and that they are better than other people
and everybody should be friends
and just help each other out
prejudice is bad
capitalism is bad
millions of books
billions of poems
trillions of thoughts
quadrillions of words
continuously flow across the planet
and into the void
saying people should stop being bad
and start being good
but they just keep on
doing what they do
after the lights are turned off
in the museum
after a long day
of sipping tea
and eating chocolate torte
with raspberry icing
to the echo of clicking heels
how dreary the world is
with the rain falling
o the sad lizard!
behind the rain-streaked window
of the pet shop