Black Dogs

by John Whitworth

It’s four o’clock. There’s nothing to be done.
Familiar shades are gathering round my bed
To tell me that my earthly race is run.
Black dogs roam up and down inside my head.
The sad, susurrant mammerings of the dead
Oppress my soul and hope is fading fast.
Those fucking dogs are frantic to be fed.
I lie awake and think about the past.

It’s four o’clock. There’s nothing to be done.
Great rags of birds are perched up on the shed,
Hooded like Druids, waiting for the sun;
Their wingspans make a most impressive spread.
Lately I talk a lot but lose the thread.
The scope for screwing up in spades is vast
And what’s to say that’s not been better said?
I lie awake and think about the past.

It’s four o’clock. There’s nothing to be done.
The tanks are rolling down from Birkenhead.
Our Southern cities will be overrun
In days. I’ve run it through from A to Z.
The Thames will all too soon be running red.
Our enemies are at the gates at last.
My shelves are stacked with documents to shred.
I lie awake and think about the past.

My heart is heavy as a lump of lead.
It beats: THE CHIPS ARE DOWN; THE DIE IS CAST.
So many stones, so very little bread!
I lie awake and think about the past.

 

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