Dora B. Montefiore, April 1920

The Looms are Set

Source: The Call, 1 April 1920, p.5;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

Mr. Churchill stated in the House of Commons that it was impossible to go back on the decision to clothe certain regiments in scarlet and gold, because the order for making the cloth had already been issued, and “the looms had been set in motion.”

In trench-scarred fields of France
Where Ypres ruin stands,
Slain in the desperate chance
Of Dardanelles demands –
Our dead, in khaki shrouds, sleep throughout many lands.

They died that wars might cease,
Nations be freed from fear;
They died to bring world peace;
But lo, fresh wars are here;
While armed Imperialism slays with tank and gun and spear.

Soldiers in scarlet, gold
And trappings such as kings
Love proudly to behold ....
These are what Peace now brings;
Corrupt democracy to barbarism clings.

A startled nation asks
"Wherefore this new war waste?
Are Reconstruction tasks
So few? Is our Peace Budget placed
So sure and safe that War Lords thus to spend the taxes haste?”

The answer War Lords throw
With ministerial scorn;
Knowing, as all men know,
Parliament is outworn,
That War and Foreign Office have its powers shorn.

“What does this muttering mean?
’the folk are there to pay!
We are the governing class,
Our word is law to-day;
Tax-payers, ‘on the knee,’ and learn your Lords to obey!

Learn that Imperial Stunts
On land and on the ocean,
Demand Imperial pomp;
And scarlet’s Winston’s notion:
Therefore the looms for scarlet cloth have now been set in motion.”

But other looms there are
That human fortunes weave;
And red may stain and mar
The warp and woof – and leave
Its smear on deeds that Ministers would fain retrieve.

Fate’s hand the shuttle holds
That weaves the world anew,
That weaves for all, instead
Of in the sad old past, for few;
The looms are set in motion, and the cloths of every hue!