The Charge

(7-10 February 1989) after Alfred Tennyson

Fleshy with age and grimy brown from living under the bridge, he isn’t a beggar, in line at the market. He says he used to have a good job, and mutters to me his resentment that the clerk doesn’t like the ragged ends of his shoes. Well, she can go to hell. Varieties of murder, varieties of murder. And some people hire out to kill without questioning as mercenary, or soldier, and once a thing is dead you can’t hurt it anymore. Cowards threaten first, ask questions later. If they die, they die without principles, and they’re not one of us, they’re not one of us.