Rhyme and Reason: Et in arcadia

By Peter Pindar

(With acknowledgments to Gray's Elegy)

White-suited slaughter gangs behind the fence, Anonymous as astronauts, advance. The bolt-guns hammer 'neath the shrouded tents And lorries roar off to the rendering plants.

So then, tomorrow, on the sheep-walks, seeds Of thorn and nettle germinate and grow, With nibbled pasture given up to weeds, Beneath the Beacons, where the thistles blow.

Elsewhere the politics go on the while. Blair's visit to Penrith brings cameras out; The pomp of power with disdainful smile Ignores the unseen ruined farmer's shout.

A month or two ago, across the land They said that we were into the home straight. Election won, and post-cull cleaning's banned. They also starve who have to stand and wait.

Three million and six hundred thousand stock Have now been slaughtered, buried, rendered, burnt. We thought Arcadia's shepherd and his flock Were here for ever. Now we know they weren't. http://www.dailytelegraph.co.uk/dt?ac=005424463700271&rtmo=k7ok71Lp&atmo=mmmmmmmR&pg=/01/7/29/do11.html