In the third stanza of the poem "Five Ways to Kill a
Man", the poet describes a practise common in the First World War:
"You may if the wind allows blow gas at him. “Sounds as harmless as a
child blowing bubbles doesn't it? But this anti-war poem is in fact a
warning about science allowed to run rampant without the restraints of
The point is, that if science becomes all
technique and technology, if all science does is superimpose new technology on
the same old problems, if there is very little understanding of higher human
purpose, if an element called humanity is missing then, all we are doing is
putting horrific killing power in the hands of barbarians, for, about the only
thing that hasn't evolved over the centuries is, man. Sadly, the majority
of people living today are no different than Stone Age man. Nothing has
changed, all the old greediness is still with us.
Five Ways to Kill a Man
There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.
You can make him carry a plank of wood
to the top of a hill and nail him to it.
To do this properly you require a crowd of people
wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak
to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one
man to hammer the nails home.
Or you can take a length of steel,
shaped and chased in a traditional way,
and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.
But for this you need white horses,
English trees, men with bows and arrows,
at least two flags, a prince, and a
castle to hold your banquet in.
Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind
allows, blow gas at him. But then you need
a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,
not to mention black boots, bomb craters,
more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs
and some round hats made of steel.
In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly
miles above your victim and dispose of him by
pressing one small switch. All you then
require is an ocean to separate you, two
systems of government, a nation's scientists,
several factories, a psychopath and
land that no-one needs for several years.
These are, as I began, cumbersome ways to kill a man.
Simpler, direct, and much more neat is to see
that he is living somewhere in the middle
of the twentieth century, and leave him there.
My books are available on
Why has the Australian government placed a block on telecommunications? Why are black-clad soldiers scouring the Great Sandy Desert? And why are people being taken away in trucks Price: $0.99 Purchase at
Heiress's dream hotel turns out anything but. If you enjoy political intrigue with a dash of romance, you're in for a treat Price: $0.99 Purchase at
A chart-busting rock star, a timber baron's concubine & a young housemaid, three women ruined by a single mistake Price: $0.99 Purchase at