BBWB 7: Outbreak

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Gavrilo Princip left the stand
Enraptur’d by the football
The little pistol in his hand
Glew golden with the goal

To slay a Prince of Austria
Whom evil represented
Prime Serbian oppressor!
With independence scented

He rode the railcars to Belgrade
& paid for every ticket
Then waited for the motorcade
In a Sarajevo snicket

Clouds crowd oer Treskavica dark
Thro’ which the day pours burning
When all the world awaits the spark
In seething turmoil churning

Franz Ferdinand & his fair wife
Came trundling to their doom
A bomb was flung to silence life
& then the bomb went BOOM

The Viennese revile in shock
Their brutal ultimatum
To Belgrade sent, who beat the clock,
But not ad verbatim

Unloosing calls to mobilise
Carousel dominoes
Alliances to amitize
Against the common foes

The Kaiser, Wilhelm, rubs his hands,
The test of mettle come
Whose Vaterland sees marching bands
Beat loud the martial drum

Whose echoes drift across the sea
To Britain & her empire
Belgium’s gallant neutrality
The canister in the fire

Exploding as the Hun advance
Beyond the Rhine’s meanders
For practical paths into France
Beforg’d through Belgian Flanders

The Dogs of War unleash’d have been
The Carsija are closing
The Matter of Serbia seen,
All sides, war’s plosive causing

Sir Edward Grey address’d the House
For Liberty’s protection,
These are no days for timid mouse
No tender circumspection

Great Britain could not idly by
Await the wrack of Brussels
& ultimatum sent, hereby,
But Berlin bares its muscles

& sits in silence at the brink
Of European war,
To violence doth slither-sink
Drinks glory from the gore

But Britain stands for moral right
& if ignor’d our protest,
The one recourse must be to fight
With France all strength invest

& so His majesty’s request
Was solemnly rejected,”

A state of war made manifest
As everyone expected

For Europe was a cauldron pot
Of vanity & egos
War fever bubbling far too hot
Over the top it flows

Twas on a bright Bank Holiday
Warm sunshine, skies cloudless
When Britishers found easy play
Mixing with high crisis

Banners & bunting street-to-street
The heat as hot as Dallas
The Monarch duly went to meet
His People at the Palace

Trafalgar Square the news receives
With patriotic roar
But not quite everyone believes
The war’s worth fighting for

A lone voice moved about the crowd
Cried, ‘peace at any price!’
At-spat, thump’d, heckl’d lewd & loud
“Who ask’d for your advice?!’

“We must stand by our Belgian friends!”
Parrots the phrase of statesmen
Sent out by news-stands to all ends
Of ever malleable Britain

Who trust their ‘masters,’ as ingrain’d
Are feudalisms ancient
Who’d happy enter schemes hare-brain’d
If order’d they’ve been sent

The lone voice shrugs the thug-hands off,
“If emperors wish war
Let Kaiser, King & Romanov
Be shown the tyrant’s door

& be replac’d by citizens
Like the Plebiscites of Rome
Thro’ palatial dev’lish denizens
Our chief enemies are at home!”

“SHUT UP” with angry comeuppance,
Crowd drags him to the ground
Kicks of cognitive dissonance
Silence’d his obtuse sound

For they were right & he was wrong
Back’d up by massive numbers
Erewhile DEATH’S DAUGHTER roam’d the throng,
Rose SLAUGHTER from her slumbers

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