Beleagured Cities by F.L. Lucas (1894-1967)
Build your houses, build your houses, build your towns,
Fell the woodland, to a gutter turn the brook,
Pave the meadows, pave the meadows, pave the downs,
Plant your bricks and mortar where the grasses shook,
The wind-swept grasses shook.
Build, build your babels black against the sky -
But mark yon small green blade, your stones between,
The single spy
Of that uncounted host you have outcast;
For with their tiny pennons waving green
They shall storm your streets at last.
Build your houses, build your houses, build your slums,
Drive your drains where once the rabbits used to lurk,
Let there be no song there save the wind that hums
Through the idle wires while dumb men tramp to work,
Tramp to their idle work.
Silent the siege; none notes it; yet one day
Men from your walls shall watch the woods once more
Close around their prey.
Build, build the ramparts of your giant town;
Yet they shall crumble to the dust before
The battering thistledown.