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Lay for the Day
30th September

1938: the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain lands at Heston Airfield, near London, after his emergency conference with Hitler, Mussolini and the French Prime Minister, Edouard Daladier, in Munich, over Germany’s recent annexation of the Czechoslovakian territory of Sudetenland.
Standing beside the aircraft, Chamberlain speaks to the press, the radio microphones, the newsreel cameramen, and a television outside broadcast crew (this was the first time a Prime Minister appeared on television). He waves a piece of paper in his hand, which is an agreement signed by himself and Hitler, and declares that he believes it will “ensure peace in our time”. Eleven months later, Britain was at war.



from Eye City: Once

Never one to stint on options,
The Enemy, His Short-lived
Serpentine Majesty, Old Bendy,
Has thrown two wayward coils
Of false religion round the world.
One is clad in iron, gleaming white;
He holds out his left hand and his right hand
And in them and his garments are graved wrongful names –
King of Kings and Judge of the Earth, Sword-Arm of the Lord.
He is known in the spirit as false Emmanuel and false Prophet,
Whose true character is death,
Warlike inhumanity of self-righteousness.
Another, whose garb is softly glittering
With embroidery of signs, ever-moving
And seductive, dealing pleasant-tasted words –
Prince of Pieces, Star-Haired, Coming One –
Is the false Orient, leading into slavery.
Never one to stint on options,
The Father of Falsehood puts forth
His left hand and his right hand,
Both Satan and Lucifer.

 
John Gibbens
from Eye City
 

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar