POETRY: On The Swag by R. A. K. Mason

On The Swag by R. A. K. Mason

His body doubled
under the pack
that sprawls untidily
on his old back
the cold wet dead-beat
plods up the track.

The cook peers out:
“oh curse that old lag—
here again
with his clumsy swag
made of a dirty old
turnip bag.”

“Bring him in cook
from the grey level sleet
put silk on his body
slippers on his feet,
give him fire
and bread and meat.

Let the fruit be plucked
and the cake be iced,
the bed be snug
and the wine be spiced
in the old cove’s night-cap.
for this is Christ.”

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