A friend posted this poem and it inspired me to initiate a poetry season. The poem was published in 1921.
Does Siegfried Sassoon need an introduction? Suffice to say that he was from a privileged background, but was radicalised by his experiences in World War 1. What he witnessed confirmed the German general's estimation of the British Army as "lions led by donkeys".
THE CASE FOR THE MINERS
Something goes wrong with my synthetic brain
When I defend the Strikers and explain
My reasons for not blackguarding the Miners.
" What do you know? " exclaim my fellow-diners
(Peeling their plovers' eggs or lifting glasses
Of mellowed Chateau Rentier from the table),
" What do you know about the working classes?"
I strive to hold my own; but I'm unable
To state the case succinctly. Indistinctly
I mumble about World-Emancipation,
Standards of Living, Nationalization
Of Industry; until they get me tangled
In superficial details; goad me on
To unconvincing vagueness. When we've wrangled
From soup to savoury, my temper's gone.
" Why should a miner earn six pounds a week?
Leisure! They'd only spend it in a bar!
Standard of life! You'll never teach them Greek,
Or make them more contented than they are!"
That's how my port-flushed friends discuss the Strike.
And that's the reason why I shout and splutter.
And that's the reason why I'd almost like
To see them hawking matches in the gutter.