Friday, 12 January 2018

Recruitment Ad. Safe Space Soldier Required (sestina)




You really do not need to be that fit.
To want to pray is absolutely right.
It’s great to do so looking to the east
while kneeling on the ground with head bowed low.
Feel free to cry, let tears course like ale.
Think you’re a girl, or gay? Don’t be put off

we promise not to bully, tease or scoff.
We’ll take you, though we’ll never benefit
from all your girlish tenderness.  Your pale,
face and sickliness are fine. Not too bright?
There’s nothing wrong with being kind and slow.
Overweight, obese? Join us, share your feast.

We care nought for your health, not in the least. 
Indulge in weekend love, but don’t get off
with any but the virtuous sort, for low
bred girls and boys think soldiers should be fit
and we mustn’t disappoint.  Nor is it right
that others’ ignorance, jaded, stale,

should tinge our notion of the modern male, 
the young recruit whose empathy, like yeast,
increases as he checks his foe’s alright,
refrains from causing harm, casts off
old notions about war.  We cannot profit
from old fighting talk, we’ll cast no blow

we will not shoot, or bomb, we will be slow
to anger, trying love at first. Each tale
that tells of old heroic acts we’ll retrofit
with references GBTQ, the least
macho shall be held in high esteem, we’ll doff
our caps, salute those who take fright.

We’ll do away with ritual and rite,
respect each other’s space, keep standards low,
so no one feels they can’t achieve, no toff
shall send you down the dale
to crawl through mud when it’s time to face the east:
to pray for victory brings greater benefit.

Not bright, sickly pale, one who lets their tears flow?
Lard arse slob who loves to feast, get off it long enough to join up, Capita must make a profit.

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