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Historical context
The Boer War 1899-1902 Soldiers were buried in
It began as a struggle between the British and shallow graves quickly,
Dutch `Boer' settlers in South Africa for control sometimes where they
of diamonds and gold. The British eventually
won after they adopted a `scorched earth' fell. It was too hot to
policy, whereby farms were burned and keep the corpses in
women and children were rounded up in
`concentration camps'. field hospital morgues.
Hyaenas are natural
scavengers ­ they find
meat to feed on.
Usually the hyaenas
eat the remains of dead
animals ­ anything they
can find. Usually...…read more

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After the burial-parties leave
And the baffled kites have fled;
The wise hyaenas come out at eve
To take account of our dead.
How he died and why he died
Troubles them not a whit.
They snout the bushes and stones aside
And dig till they come to it.…read more

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They are only resolute they shall eat
That they and their mates may thrive,
And they know that the dead are safer
meat
Than the weakest thing alive.
(For a goat may butt, and a worm may
sting,
And a child will sometimes stand;
But a poor dead soldier of the King
Can never lift a hand.)…read more

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They whoop and halloo and scatter the dirt
Until their tushes white
Take good hold in the army shirt,
And tug the corpse to light,…read more

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