“Newsreel” by Cecil Day Lewis

Enter the dream-house, brothers and sisters, leaving

Your debts asleep, your history at the door:

This is the home for heroes, and this loving

Darkness a fur you can afford.

Fish in their tank electrically heated

Nose without envy the glass wall: for them

Clerk, spy, nurse, killer, prince, the great and the defeated,

Move in a mute day-dream.

Bathed in this common source, you gape incurious

At what your active hours have willed –

Sleep-walking on that silver wall, the furious

Sick shapes and pregnant fancies of your world.

There is the mayor opening the oyster season:

A society wedding: the autumn hats look swell:

An old crocks’ race, and a politician

In fishing-waders to prove that all is well.

Oh, look at the warplanes! Screaming hysteric treble

In the low power-dive, like gannets they fall steep.

But what are they to trouble –

These silver shadows – to trouble your watery, womb-deep sleep?

See the big guns, rising, groping, erected

To plant death in your world’s soft womb.

Fire-bud, smoke-blossom, iron seed projected –

Are these exotics? They will grow nearer home!

Grow nearer home – and out of the dream-house stumbling

One night into a strangling air and the flung

Rags of children and thunder of stone niagaras tumbling,

You’ll know you slept too long.

(Poem with notes Newsreel)

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