Cannibal Street

'BUY, who'll buy,' the pedlar sings,
'Bones of beggars, loins of kings,
Ribs of murder, haunch of hate,
And Beauty's head on a butcher's plate!'
Hook by hook, on steaming stalls,
The hero hangs, the harlot sprawls;
For Helen's flesh, in such a street,
Is only a kind of dearer meat.
'Buy, who'll buy,' the pedlar begs,
'Angel-wings and lady-legs,
Tender bits and dainty parts—
Buy, who'll buy my skewered hearts?'
Buy, who'll buy? The cleavers fall,
The dead men creak, the live men call,
And I (God save me) bargained there,
Paid my pennies and ate my share.

by Kenneth Slessor

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