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Five Ways To Kill A Man - Edwin Brock

By: Edwin Brock (1927-1997) who wrote two of the best-known poems of the last century, 'Five Ways to Kill a Man' and 'Song of the Battery Hen'

Five Ways To Kill A Man

There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.

Five Ways to Kill a ManYou can make him carry a plank of wood

to the top of a hill and nail him to it. To do this

properly you require a crowd of people

wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak

to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one

man to hammer the nails home.Or you can take a length of steel,
Six Ways to Kill a Man
shaped and chased in a traditional way,

and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.

But for this you need white horses,

English trees, men with bows and arrows,

at least two flags, a prince, and a

castle to hold your banquet in.Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind

allows, blow gas at him. But then you need

a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,

not to mention black boots, bomb craters,

more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs

and some round hats made of steel.In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly

miles above your victim and dispose of him by

pressing one small switch. All you then

require is an ocean to separate you, two

systems of government, a nation's scientists,

several factories, a psychopath and

land that no-one needs for several years.These are, as I began, cumbersome ways

to kill a man. Simpler, direct, and much more neat

is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle

of the twentieth century, and leave him there.

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