Edwin Brock

(19 October 1927 – 7 September 1997 / Dulwich / London / England)

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Five Ways To Kill A Man


There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.
You 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,
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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Tuesday, May 31, 2011

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Comments about this poem (Five Ways To Kill A Man by Edwin Brock )

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  • Tiku . (4/23/2014 4:54:00 AM)

    aha...what innovative ways! ! ! Love the way to put them so cleverly. (Report) Reply

  • Jacob Broderick (4/4/2013 1:04:00 AM)

    OMG! this is sooo right, i am very pleased with this.... I honestly think he is speaking the total truth about what is happening to society (Report) Reply

  • Mark Bell (4/23/2012 11:04:00 PM)

    Yes Edwin I agree..., it is a slow and painful death, but they are headed that way by the droves. But isn't it so inconvenient to die? (Report) Reply

  • Evelyn Morgan (4/23/2012 4:28:00 PM)

    Very well written. The title pulls you in and you keep reading to find out more until you get to the totally
    unexpected ending. Does this mean we are slowly killing ourselves? (Report) Reply

  • Evelyn Morgan (4/23/2012 4:26:00 PM)

    Very well written. The title pulls you in and you keep reading to get to the ending with its unexpected
    conclusion. Does this mean we are slowly killing ourselves? (Report) Reply

  • William Jackson (4/23/2012 4:01:00 PM)

    Intriguing poem. I like the organization and that you start with the heart of the matter, the death of christ, and move through man's madness spiraling ouIntriguing poem. I like the organization and that you start with the heart of the matter, the death of christ, and move through man's madness spiraling outward into the thick of life across the eons.tward into the thick of life across the eons. (Report) Reply

  • William Jackson (4/23/2012 3:59:00 PM)

    Intriguing poem. I like the organization and that you start with the heart of the matter, the death of christ, and move through man's madness spiraling outward into the thick of life across the eons. (Report) Reply

  • Calico Jack (4/23/2012 10:22:00 AM)

    Wow this is terrific. It i so smoothly written and the message comes across so well. The little twist ending is just perfect. (Report) Reply

  • Veeraiyah Subbulakshmi (4/23/2012 4:31:00 AM)

    The first paragraph is the best and I thought of similar stories of interest would be elaborated. Though got cheated, still good. Nice poem (Report) Reply

  • Ahmed Ahmeidat (3/27/2006 12:56:00 PM)

    I need the notes on this because i was told to choose a poem to discuss on in school.
    so could you send them pls! (Report) Reply

Read all 18 comments »

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