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Whatever Next? (Revisited)

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 Men who a few short months before the slaughter
Had voted Socialist,
And who had voted internationalist,
Who had struck for higher wages,
Against their respective employers and Capital,
Were now once more united
In common purpose and on common land –
Propertyless,
Fritz and Tommy met in No Man’s Land,
And briefly shared a deepened understanding
Of how nationhood had hoodwinked them,
And destroyed lives and mutual empathy;
Not for them the knowledge
That British shells paid royalties to enemy patents,
As Capital respected Capital,
Instead,
Christmas trees and fags and beer,
And frost-breath football,
Silhouetted against a setting blood-red sun –
And who cares about the score?
Who cares if Germany won 3 – 2?
The deeper question is
“What if they had played again the next day?”
And the day after that?
And what if they had played mixed sides,
And dispensed with birthplace
As the sole criterion for selection?
Whatever next?

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 © Stuart Butler – 12 Dec 2000

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Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/whatever-next-revisited/