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Lay for the Day
1st August


1834: slavery is abolished in the British Empire, and 770,280 slaves are declared free. The date is celebrated as Emancipation Day in Trinidad & Tobago, which became an independent republic on 1st August 1976. The British Colonial Office closed its doors on 1st August 1966, bringing the British Empire officially to an end.
1914: with Germany’s declaration of war on Russia the Great War, the war to end war gets under way.
 

National Omelette


Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves…

The captain stood upon the quay
Of sparkling Kingston town,
An audience of Africans
Was gathered all around.
He lifted up his voice,
He lifted up his cane:
“The nation’s calling you
To wear that ball and chain.”
Ball and chain, ball and chain…
'Cause when you make an omelette
You beat the eggs, that’s plain.

Deutschland, Deutschland über alles…

The general stood upon the field
Of Flanders’ flowering plain,
An audience of raw recruits
Was round him in the rain.
“The cup of victory’s yours, lads,
Drain it to the dregs.
The nation’s calling you
To lose some arms and legs.”
Arms and legs, your arrms and legs…
'Cause when you make an omelette
You have to break some eggs.

Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light…

Our leader’s face was on the screen,
His brow was heavy-lined.
He said we should be ready,
He knew we wouldn’t mind.
Whatever they might throw at us
He’d send back multiplied.
The nation’s calling you
To face your death with pride.
Death with pride, death with pride…
'Cause when you make an omelette
The eggs no doubt get fried.

Allons les enfants de la patrie…

You might find it puzzling,
Bewildering and strange,
But here and there in people’s hearts
Begins to be a change.
Your reasoning’s full of holes,
Six feet in length and depth,
And if the nation’s calling us
The scrapings, scum and dregs,
Scum and dregs, scum and dregs…
Well, you can call us chicken
But we won’t be your eggs.

You may call us chicken
But we won’t be your eggs.

 
Words and music
by The Children
 

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar



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