Larkin: leaving Afghanistan

As Australia ends its military involvement in Afghanistan …

Next year we are to bring the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly.
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.
It’s hard to say who wanted it to happen,
but now it’s been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easy in our minds.


from “Homage to a government”, in Philip Larkin’s High windows, London: Faber and Faber, 1974, p. 29.