Partition

Unbiased at least he was when he arrived on his mission,
Having never set eyes on the land he was called to partition
Between two peoples fanatically at odds,
With their different diets and incompatible gods.
"Time," they had briefed him in London, "is short. It's too late
For mutual reconciliation or rational debate:
The only solution now lies in separation.
The Viceroy thinks, as you will see from his letter,
That the less you are seen in his company the better,
So we've arranged to provide you with other accommodation.
We can give you four judges, two Moslem and two Hindu,
To consult with, but the final decision must rest with you."

Shut up in a lonely mansion, with police night and day
Patrolling the gardens to keep the assassins away,
He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate
Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date
And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect,
But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect
Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot,
And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot,
But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,
A continent for better or worse divided.

The next day he sailed for England, where he could quickly forget
The case, as a good lawyer must. Return he would not,
Afraid, as he told his Club, that he might get shot.

by WH Auden

Comments (4)

qu ni ma ge bi gan ma bu gei wo jin qu a
Indeed 'Gods do make their own importance'. This poem perfectly capures the microcosim whitin the macrocosim. After all we are all our own gods. I knew the Duffy's. They damned my soul too.
Yes, 'the Munich bother' indicates the farmers' attitude to world- shaking affairs compared to their own! But the poet's snap judgement is then tempered by his knowledge of the classics; these men can also be viewed as local gods, who 'make their own judgement.' Mutual forgiveness of each vice Such are the gates of paradise (William Blake) A fine poem that is also an exercise in tolerance.
this poem was written by P K. to explain how important it was to the people esp from a country area in old ireland, the importance of that small bit of land, and the row that mite take place between two neighbours over it. there might be a war going on in europe or whereever but the row over the small plot of land in monaghan had more significance than world war 2 to the people in that country area