Sonnet: Pit-Boy by Vernon Watkins

When sleep’s propped scenery falls about the house
And dancing women quickly take off their masks,
The brick world wakes up, willing to espouse
The child whose parents left the empty flasks.

When sleep’s propped scenery falls, alarums rouse
Children of light to their appointed tasks.
Around Laocoon and his children’s brows
Strangling their violence with venom, a serpent basks.

Harnessed to mines, who shall inherit wealth?
To whom, here praying, shall pasteurized milk bring health?
What horror of dawn shall hide our born disgrace?

Torn, with torn satchel, reared in grit and filth,
His misery shows a town taken by stealth,
And all the accusing heavens in that Welsh face.


Date: 1937

By: Vernon Watkins (1906-1967)

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