Guest poem sent in by William Grey
(Poem #1774) The Invaders
Coming by night, furtively, one by one They infiltrate according to the Plan, Their orders memorized and their disguise Impenetrable. With the rising sun Our citizens welcome them. Nobody can Think that such charming creatures might be spies. So feeble, so helpless, no one could suspect They come to make this commonwealth their prey; So few, they pose no threat; their cohort grows So imperceptibly that we neglect To notice how it musters day by day And, unalarmed, we watch as they impose Themselves, make friends in all directions, take Impressions of all keys. They gain access To all our secrets; learn to speak our tongue Like natives; profit by each false move we make; Work on our weaknesses; observe and guess The sources of power and study them to be strong. And when it happens, there will be no fuss, No streets running with blood, no barricade. We shall simply wake one morning to discover, As those who ruled this city before us Found by each door a headstone and a spade, That a new generation has taken over.
This poem by Australian poet A.D. Hope (1907-2000) is based on an utterly simple idea, with an underlying tension (even menace) beautifully developed, and brilliantly resolved in the final line. Like Hope's "Ode on the Death of Pius the Twelfth"  this poem deals with the issue of age and death, which are recurrent themes for Hope (see also ) -- as they are, of course, for many poets. The poem is from A.D. Hope, A Late Picking: Poems 1965-1974. (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1975) William Grey  Poem #1764, Ode on the Death of Pius the Twelfth -- A.D. Hope  Poem #571, The Death of the Bird -- A.D. Hope