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23rd-Feb-2018 01:00 am - Siegfried Sassoon, 'Wirers'
Duath
Wirers

‘Pass it along, the wiring party’s going out’—
And yawning sentries mumble, ‘Wirers going out.’
Unravelling; twisting; hammering stakes with muffled thud,
They toil with stealthy haste and anger in their blood.

The Boche sends up a flare. Black forms stand rigid there,
Stock-still like posts; then darkness, and the clumsy ghosts
Stride hither and thither, whispering, tripped by clutching snare
Of snags and tangles.
Ghastly dawn with vaporous coasts
Gleams desolate along the sky, night’s misery ended.

Young Hughes was badly hit; I heard him carried away,
Moaning at every lurch; no doubt he’ll die to-day.
But we can say the front-line wire’s been safely mended.

by Siegfried Sassoon
Duath
On Seeing Larry Rivers’ Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Museum of Modern Art

Now that our hero has come back to us
in his white pants and we know his nose
trembling like a flag under fire,
we see the calm cold river is supporting
our forces, the beautiful history.

To be more revolutionary than a nun
is our desire, to be secular and intimate
as, when sighting a redcoat, you smile
and pull the trigger. Anxieties
and animosities, flaming and feeding

on theoretical considerations and
the jealous spiritualities of the abstract
the robot? they’re smoke, billows above
the physical event. They have burned up.
See how free we are! as a nation of persons.

Dear father of our country, so alive
you must have lied incessantly to be
immediate, here are your bones crossed
on my breast like a rusty flintlock,
a pirate’s flag, bravely specific

and ever so light in the misty glare
of a crossing by water in winter to a shore
other than that the bridge reaches for.
Don’t shoot until, the white of freedom glinting
on your gun barrel, you see the general fear.

By Frank O'Hara

George Washington, born February 22, 1732
21st-Feb-2018 01:00 am - G. Ó. Cuinneagán, 'Aidan McAinspie'
Duath
Aidan McAinspie

'Twas on a Sunday evening, the sun shone in the sky
as he made his way to the Gaeligh ground never thinking he was going to die
but as he crossed the checkpoint, the sound of gunfire came
The news spread through the border town ... Aidan McAnespie was slain.

Oh why did you do it? and not have guts to say...
to say it was an accident or even a richochet?
for like Loughall and Gibraltar, your lies are well renowned...
For ye murdered Aidan McAnespie on his way to the Gaeligh ground


For years he was hounded by the forces of the crown
as he walked to work every day, he left his native town.
The soldiers swore they'd get him, for reasons no one could say
and sure enough they murdered him in cold blood on that sunny day.

The people heard the gunfire, they came from miles around,
they saw that young man lying there, he was dying on the ground.
His flow of life was ebbing fast, the people they did their best
but that bullet wound was far too deep... it passed right through his chest.

Aidan's life was ending, it was time for judgement day
the soldier jumped down from the tower... the coward he ran away.
God's curse on you England, for this cruel deed you've done
but God will have the final say when your judgement day will come.

To say it was an accident was the gravest crime of all
to his broken-hearted family it was the worst that could befall.
A cross now marks the lonely spot where Aidan he was shot down
as he walked that sunny evening... on his way to Gealigh Town

Oh why did you do it? and not have guts to say...
to say it was an accident or even a richochet?
for like Loughall and Gibraltar, your lies are well renowned...
For ye murdered Aidan McAnespie on his way to the Gaeligh ground


By G. Ó. Cuinneagán

Aidan_McAnespie, killed February 21, 1988

http://youtu.be/Ugq3tQlw69Q
Duath
See How Free We Are!

from “On Seeing Larry Rivers’ Washington Crossing
the Delaware at the Museum of Modern Art”
—Frank O’Hara


Reading War and Peace
led Larry Rivers to, as he put it,
“get into the ring with Tolstoy”

and paint “Washington
Crossing the Delaware”
which, in turn, led Frank O’Hara

who, incidentally,
wanted to sleep with Larry
but Larry didn’t love him that way,

to write the poem “On Seeing
Larry Rivers’ Washington Crossing
the Delaware
at the Museum of Modern Art,”

which I read
because one of my favorite poets
admires O’Hara’s work.

On the other hand,
one of my favorite professors
hated Larry Rivers, calling him a bloody fraud

which is more or less what
both Rivers and O’Hara
seem to be saying about Washington

“with his nose
trembling like
a flag under fire”

or maybe about
the notion of
heroes in general

perhaps, in the same way
that Tolstoy said Napoleon
was a “slave of history”

which might also account
for the liberty
Rivers took in painting

a portrait of Napoleon
and calling it “The
Greatest Homosexual.”

Rivers liked to joke
but also found it odd
and noteworthy

that Napoleon liked to
bathe naked in front
of his officers

which, perhaps, he did
because he was, after all,
already so exposed

not unlike Washington
and Larry
and Frank

giving new meaning
to both ex nihilo
and free will.

By Mary Buchinger
19th-Feb-2018 01:00 am - T.A. Girling, 'Mount St. Eloi'
Duath
Mount St. Eloi

Twin towers crowned Mount St. Eloi,
Majestic side by side,
A landmark from the distance,
A monument of pride.
They gleamed through mist and shadow,
They caught the dying light,
And capped the hill with glory,
Twin towers of dazzling white.

Twin towers in all things equal
Stood forth, till they in war
The fury of bombardment
With equal grandeur bore,
As shrapnel hailed against them
And high explosives made
The very hill to tremble,
Wherein their strength was stayed.

Then side by side their splendour
Stooped to the bolts of hell,
As coping stone and pillar
Toppled and crashing fell.
Yet month by month, sore smitten,
They crowned the battered slope,
And flashed from suns of evening
Their signals white of hope.

Now that the foe is driven
Far from St. Eloi's hill,
They stand against the skyline
Broken but splendid still.
Though equal chance they breasted
And stood as twins before,
Yet war has laid the burden
On one to suffer more.

by T.A. Girling
19 February, 1918.

The Towers of Mont-Saint-Eloi
18th-Feb-2018 01:00 am - Michael Brett, 'Artillery Barrage'
Duath
Artillery Barrage

An artillery barrage is like a giant’s fist beating
On a bar top, everything jumps: glasses, change,
Trees, boulders, mud. Entire hillsides
Leap, topple, sometimes vanish in wild dents
Encased in instants of fire and smoke
That drift like ghosts of other wars.
An artillery barrage is like a drunken juggler.
It dances in flames on the edge of a curtain.
Houses, trees are like skittles.
They leap upwards, tumbling over and over.
They are never caught. They smash.
It is a wind. Through it, a forest wanders
Like a fleet dissolving in a hurricane.
Smoke faces contort, shake their fists and vanish.
I am drowning in noise that makes ears and noses bleed.
The smell is strange, like a smoky hot bed.
Like a loopy grin, a bridge collapses and someone laughs.
Chunks the size of a piano hurtle skywards vertically.
Now we will walk towards it.

By Michael Brett
Duath
Requiem: The Soldier

Down some cold field in a world outspoken
the young men are walking together, slim and tall,
and though they laugh to one another, silence is not broken;
there is no sound however clear they call.

They are speaking together of what they loved in vain here,
but the air is too thin to carry the things they say.
They were young and golden, but they came on pain here,
and their youth is age now, their gold is grey.

Yet their hearts are not changed, and they cry to one another,
'What have they done with the lives we laid aside?
Are they young with our youth, gold with our gold, my brother?
Do they smile in the face of death, because we died?'

Down some cold field in a world uncharted
the young seek each other with questioning eyes.
They question each other, the young, the golden hearted,
of the world that they were robbed of in their quiet paradise.

I do not ask God's purpose. He gave me the sword,
and though merely to wield it is itself the lie
against the light, at the bidding of my Lord,
where all the rest bear witness, I'll deny.
And I remember Peter's high reward,
and say of soldiers, when I hear cocks cry,
"As your dear lives ('twas all you might afford)
you laid aside, I lay my sainthood by."
There are in heaven other archangels,
bright friends of God, who build where Michael destroys,
in music, or in beauty, lute players.
I wield the sword; and though I ask nought else
of God, I pray to Him: "But these were boys,
and died. Be gentle, God, to soldiers."

by Humbert Wolfe
Duath
I was the soldier supreme

I was the soldier supreme
rough and ready
with the sleeves of my sunburned arms
carrying an appropriate tattoo
and short filtered smokes
kill or be killed
this desert is hot
anything that moves at night is enemy
fire in the hole
doesn't that child have a gun
what an empty canteen in search of cold water
don't worry about my buddies around
the campfire cry
it only takes one to kill you
dude
let no man beware
charge charge of
the light marine brigade
Kipling was no veteran
let other bewares
the price of victory is a politicians soul
and a sentry's nightmare
plus the head of a little boy
forever lost.

By William "Wild Bill" Taylor,
June, 2004
15th-Feb-2018 01:00 am - Mark Vine, 'Eternal Soldier'
Duath
Eternal Soldier

I am the eternal soldier; I’m there when you need me
Fighting for your liberties down every century
Standing on the front-line, bleeding for your cause
Just a name on a memorial, at which you never pause.

I halted the Armada, stood my ground at Marston Moor
I was in the line at Minden and I heard the Zulu roar,
I was in the square at Waterloo and fought the fearless Boers
And I was gassed in the trenches of the war to end all wars.
I piloted a Spitfire, stormed the beach at Normandy
Froze to death in Korea and I yomped to Port Stanley,
I was bombed to hell in Basra, under fire in old Kabul
I am a deadly Exocet, a politician’s tool.


Yet all I ask is wages and three square meals a day
To lay my life upon the line, to live in harms way,
But it’s the same old story, when your victory is won
Then I’m just an embarrassment, with a loaded gun.

And the debt is soon forgotten, when the nightmares come to call
When each night I hear my best friend scream and helpless, watch him fall,
I’m told to snap out of it, I’m told big boys don’t cry
And I’m left to drink myself to death and on a cold street die.

I halted the Armada, stood my ground at Marston Moor
I was in the line at Minden and I heard the Zulu roar,
I was in the square at Waterloo and fought the fearless Boers
And I was gassed in the trenches of the war to end all wars …….
I piloted a Spitfire, stormed the beach at Normandy
Froze to death in Korea and I yomped to Port Stanley,
I was bombed to hell in Basra, under fire in old Kabul
I am a deadly Exocet, a politician’s tool.


I march on your decision, anywhere in this wide world
In places where our flag had no right to be unfurled,
And I’m not asking for riches, I want nothing for free
The only thing I’m asking for,
Is a measure of dignity.

For I am the eternal soldier; I’m there when you need me
Fighting for your conscience down every century
And I’m standing on the front-line, bleeding for your cause
Just a name on a memorial, at which you never pause.

By Mark Vine

14th-Feb-2018 01:00 am - Ivor Gurney, 'Half Dead'
Duath
Half Dead

Half dead with sheer tiredness, wakened quick at night
With dysentry pangs, going blind among sleepers
And dazed into half-dark, illness had its spite.
Head cleared, eyes saw; horrible body-creepers
Stilled with the cold - the cold bringing me sane -
See there was Witcombe Steep as it were, but no beeches there.
Yet still clear flames of stars over the crest bare,
Mysterious glowing on the cloths of heaven,

Best turn in, fatigue party out at seven
Dark was the billet after that seeing rare.

By Ivor Gurney
13th-Feb-2018 01:00 am - James Love, 'Did I hear a soul fall?'
Duath
Did I hear a soul fall?

Did I hear a soul fall?
With that, his last breath.

Is it a wistful smile?
Or have the muscles just relaxed?

His grip is still firm enough,
Where he grabbed my arm.

No cinematic deaths here,
Just harsh cold reality.

Who will hold me?
When I fall.

By James Love
Duath
Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight
In Springfield, Illinois


It is portentous, and a thing of state
That here at midnight, in our little town,
A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,
Near the old court-house pacing up and down.

Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards
He lingers where his children used to play;
Or through the market, on the well-worn stones
He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away.

A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black,
A famous high top-hat and plain worn shawl
Make him the quaint great figure that men love,
The prairie-lawyer, master of us all.

He cannot sleep upon his hillside now.
He is among us:—as in times before!
And we who toss and lie awake for long
Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door.

His head is bowed. He thinks on men and kings.
Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep?
Too many peasants fight, they know not why,
Too many homesteads in black terror weep.

The sins of all the war-lords burn his heart.
He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.
He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
The bitterness, the folly, and the pain.

He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn
Shall come;—the shining hope of Europe free:
The league of sober folk, the Workers’ Earth
Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp, and Sea.

It breaks his heart that kings must murder still,
That all his hours of travail here for men
Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace
That he may sleep upon his hill again?

By Vachel Lindsay

Abraham Lincoln, born February 12, 1809
Duath
Munition Wages

Earning high wages?
Yus, Five quid a week.
A woman, too, mind you,
I calls it dim sweet.

Ye'are asking some questions —
But bless yer, here goes:
I spends the whole racket
On good times and clothes.

Me saving? Elijah!
Yer do think I'm mad.
I'm acting the lady,
But — I ain't living bad.

I'm having life's good times.
See 'ere, it's like this:
The 'oof come o' danger,
A touch-and-go bizz.

We're all here today, mate,
Tomorrow — perhaps dead,
If Fate tumbles on us
And blows up our shed.

Afraid! Are yer kidding?
With money to spend!
Years back I wore tatters,
Now — silk stockings, mi friend!

I've bracelets and jewellery,
Rings envied by friends;
A sergeant to swank with,
And something to lend.

I drive out in taxis,
Do theatres in style.
And this is mi verdict —
It is jolly worth while.

Worth while, for tomorrow
If I'm blown to the sky,
I'll have repaid mi wages
In death — and pass by.

By Madeline Ivy Bedford
10th-Feb-2018 01:00 am - Lynda K. Dokken, 'Unity And Strength'
Duath
Unity And Strength

It is time we come forward,
we have waited long enough,
to be recognized as veterans.

We've fought numerous battles
of attitudes and prejudices.

We are, indeed, unique,
for we are risk takers,
and ground breakers,
by joining the service.

We've marched in every war,
helping fight behind the lines
and on front lines with you.

We've dealt with hositility
by being put in places
where we weren't wanted.

We've been ignored, harassed,
threatened and assaulted.
We've faced the same enemies as you,
even had more enemies than you,
for sometimes you were our enemy.

We're not here to point a finger,
to condemn or make accusations.
We're here to join hands and voices
in unity and strength,
to claim our right to be recognized
not just as women veterans,
but that we're veterans, too.

by Lynda K. Dokken USMC
9th-Feb-2018 01:00 am - Cheryl Lockhart, 'Why Do You Go?'
Duath
Why Do You Go?

Day after day they ask me
"Why do you go away?
What makes you leave your family?
I think that you should stay."

My child who's standing at the door
Clutching Daddy's hand so
Pleads again with choking voice
"Mommy, please don't go."

For me, I must answer them,
I need for them to know.
It is not for fame or glory
Or riches that I go.

I go for each of you,
For all that have a son,
For all that have a daughter
Or a special loved one.

I go that when they hurt,
Or harm's bullet has settled deep
Someone will be there for them,
To ease them as they sleep

I go to hold them as they die,
In some deserted place
To listen to their last goodbye
And still their troubled face.

I go because you can not go
And hold them when in fear
And soothe the troubled brow
As they cry for home so dear.

So when you see me pack my bags
And leave for lands so far away,
It is not hardness of the heart
Or mother's conscience gone astray

Its for love of country, freedom,
Duty and honor too,
But most of all I go
To bring them back to you.

By Capt. Cheryl Lockhart, USAFR, NC 914th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
Duath
The Women Who Went to the Field

The women who went to the field, you say,
The women who went to the field; and pray,
What did they go for? - just to be in the way?-
They'd not know the difference betwixt work and play,
What did they know about war, anyway ?
What could they do? - of what use could they be?
They would scream at the sight of a gun, don't you see?
Just fancy them round where the bugle notes play,
And the long roll is bidding us on to the fray.
Imagine their skirts 'mong artillery wheels,
And watch for their flutter as they flee 'cross the fields
When the charge is rammed home and the fire belches hot;-
They never will wait for the answering shot.
They would faint at the first drop of blood, in their sight.
What fun for us boys,-(ere we enter the fight;)
They might pick some lint, and tear up some sheets,
And make us some jellies, and send on their sweets,
And knit some soft socks for Uncle Sam's shoes,
And write us some letters, and tell us the news.
And thus it was settled by common consent,
That husbands, or brothers, or whoever went,
That the place for the women was in their own homes,
There to patiently wait until victory comes.
But later, it chanced, just how no one knew,
That the lines slipped a bit, and some 'gan to crowd through;
And they went, - where did they go? - Ah; where did they not?
Show us the battle, - the field, - or the spot
Where the groans of the wounded rang out on the air
That her ear caught it not, and her hand was not there,
Who wiped the death sweat from the cold, clammy brow,
And sent home the message; - "'T is well with him now"?
Who watched in the tents, whilst the fever fires burned,
And the pain-tossing limbs in agony turned,
And wet the parched tongue, calmed delirium's strife
Till the dying lips murmured, " My Mother," " My Wife"!
And who were they all ? - They were many, my men:
Their record was kept by no tabular pen:
They exist in traditions from father to son.
Who recalls, in dim memory, now here and there one.-
A few names where writ, and by chance live to-day;
But's a perishing record fast fading away.
Of those we recall, there are scarcely a score,
Dix, Dame, Bickerdyke, - Edson, Harvey and Moore,
Fales, Wittenmeyer, Gilson, Safford and Lee,
And poor Cutter dead in the sands of the sea;
And Frances D. Gage, our "Aunt Fanny" of old,
Whose voice rang for freedom when freedom was sold.
And Husband, and Etheridge, and Harlan and Case,
Livermore, Alcott, Hancock and Chase,
And Turner, and Hawley, and Potter and Hall,
Ah! the list grows apace, as they come at the call:
Did these women quail at the sight of a gun?
Will some soldier tell us of one he saw run?
Will he glance at the boats on the great western flood,
At Pittsburg and Shiloh, did they faint at the blood?
And the brave wife of Grant stood there with them then,
And her calm, stately presence gave strength to his men.
And Marie of Logan; she went with them too;
A bride, scarcely more than a sweetheart, 't is true.
Her young cheek grows pale when the bold troopers ride.
Where the "Black Eagle" soars, she is close at his side,
She staunches his blood, cools the fever-burnt breath,
And the wave of her hand stays the Angel of Death;
She nurses him back, and restores once again
To both army and state the brave leader of men.

She has smoothed his black plumes and laid them to sleep,
Whilst the angels above them their high vigils keep:
And she sits here alone, with the snow on her brow -
Your cheers for her comrades! Three cheers for her now.
And these were the women who went to the war:
The women of question; what did they go for?
Because in their hearts God had planted the seed
Of pity for woe, and help for its need;
They saw, in high purpose, a duty to do,
And the armor of right broke the barriers through.
Uninvited, unaided, unsanctioned ofttimes,
With pass, or without it, they pressed on the lines;
They pressed, they implored, till they ran the lines through,
And this was the "running" the men saw them do.
'T was a hampered work, its worth largely lost;
'T was hindrance, and pain, and effort, and cost:
But through these came knowledge, - knowledge is power.-
And never again in the deadliest hour
Of war or of peace shall we be so beset
To accomplish the purpose our spirits have met.
And what would they do if war came again?
The scarlet cross floats where all was blank then.
They would bind on their "brassards" and march to the fray,
And the man liveth not who could say to them nay;
They would stand with you now, as they stood with you then,
The nurses, consolers, and saviours of men.

By Clara Barton (1892)

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross
Duath
Many Sisters To Many Brothers

When we fought campaigns (in the long Christmas rains)
With soldiers spread in troops on the floor,
I shot as straight as you, my losses were as few,
My victories as many, or more.
And when in naval battle, amid cannon's rattle,
Fleet met fleet in the bath,
My cruisers were as trim, my battleships as grim,
My submarines cut as swift a path.
Or, when it rained too long, and the strength of the strong
Surged up and broke a way with blows,
I was as fit and keen, my fists hit as clean,
Your black eye matched my bleeding nose.
Was there a scrap or ploy in which you, the boy,
Could better me? You could not climb higher,
Ride straighter, run as quick (and to smoke made you sick)
. . . But I sit here, and you're under fire.

Oh, it's you that have the luck, out there in blood and muck:
You were born beneath a kindly star;

All we dreamt, I and you, you can really go and do,
And I can't, the way things are.
In a trench you are sitting, while I am knitting
A hopeless sock that never gets done.
Well, here's luck, my dear;--and you've got it, no fear;
But for me . . . a war is poor fun.

By Rose Macaulay
7th-Feb-2018 01:00 am - June Jordan, 'Poem about My Rights'
Duath
Poem about My Rights

Even tonight and I need to take a walk and clear
my head about this poem about why I can’t
go out without changing my clothes my shoes
my body posture my gender identity my age
my status as a woman alone in the evening/
alone on the streets/alone not being the point/
the point being that I can’t do what I want
to do with my own body because I am the wrong
sex the wrong age the wrong skin and
suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/
or far into the woods and I wanted to go
there by myself thinking about God/or thinking
about children or thinking about the world/all of it
disclosed by the stars and the silence:
I could not go and I could not think and I could not
stay there
alone
as I need to be
alone because I can’t do what I want to do with my own
body and
who in the hell set things up
like this
and in France they say if the guy penetrates
but does not ejaculate then he did not rape me
and if after stabbing him if after screams if
after begging the bastard and if even after smashing
a hammer to his head if even after that if he
and his buddies fuck me after that
then I consented and there was
no rape because finally you understand finally
they fucked me over because I was wrong I was
wrong again to be me being me where I was/wrong
to be who I am
which is exactly like South Africa
penetrating into Namibia penetrating into
Angola and does that mean I mean how do you know if
Pretoria ejaculates what will the evidence look like the
proof of the monster jackboot ejaculation on Blackland
and if
after Namibia and if after Angola and if after Zimbabwe
and if after all of my kinsmen and women resist even to
self-immolation of the villages and if after that
we lose nevertheless what will the big boys say will they
claim my consent:
Do You Follow Me: We are the wrong people of
the wrong skin on the wrong continent and what
in the hell is everybody being reasonable about
and according to the Times this week
back in 1966 the C.I.A. decided that they had this problem
and the problem was a man named Nkrumah so they
killed him and before that it was Patrice Lumumba
and before that it was my father on the campus
of my Ivy League school and my father afraid
to walk into the cafeteria because he said he
was wrong the wrong age the wrong skin the wrong
gender identity and he was paying my tuition and
before that
it was my father saying I was wrong saying that
I should have been a boy because he wanted one/a
boy and that I should have been lighter skinned and
that I should have had straighter hair and that
I should not be so boy crazy but instead I should
just be one/a boy and before that
it was my mother pleading plastic surgery for
my nose and braces for my teeth and telling me
to let the books loose to let them loose in other
words
I am very familiar with the problems of the C.I.A.
and the problems of South Africa and the problems
of Exxon Corporation and the problems of white
America in general and the problems of the teachers
and the preachers and the F.B.I. and the social
workers and my particular Mom and Dad/I am very
familiar with the problems because the problems
turn out to be
me
I am the history of rape
I am the history of the rejection of who I am
I am the history of the terrorized incarceration of
myself
I am the history of battery assault and limitless
armies against whatever I want to do with my mind
and my body and my soul and
whether it’s about walking out at night
or whether it’s about the love that I feel or
whether it’s about the sanctity of my vagina or
the sanctity of my national boundaries
or the sanctity of my leaders or the sanctity
of each and every desire
that I know from my personal and idiosyncratic
and indisputably single and singular heart
I have been raped
be-
cause I have been wrong the wrong sex the wrong age
the wrong skin the wrong nose the wrong hair the
wrong need the wrong dream the wrong geographic
the wrong sartorial I
I have been the meaning of rape
I have been the problem everyone seeks to
eliminate by forced
penetration with or without the evidence of slime and/
but let this be unmistakable this poem
is not consent I do not consent
to my mother to my father to the teachers to
the F.B.I. to South Africa to Bedford-Stuy
to Park Avenue to American Airlines to the hardon
idlers on the corners to the sneaky creeps in
cars
I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name
My name is my own my own my own
and I can’t tell you who the hell set things up like this
but I can tell you that from now on my resistance
my simple and daily and nightly self-determination
may very well cost you your life

By June Jordan
6th-Feb-2018 01:00 am - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 'Woman and War'
Duath
Woman and War

We women teach our little sons how wrong
And how ignoble blows are; school and church
Support our precepts, and inoculate
The growing minds with thoughts of love and peace.
"Let dogs delight to bark and bite," we say;
But human beings with immortal souls
Must rise above the methods of a brute,
And walk with reason and with self-control.

And then--dear God! you men, you wise, strong men,
Our self-announced superiors in brain,
Our peers in judgment, you go forth to war!
You leap at one another, mutilate
And starve and kill your fellow-men, and ask
The world's applause for such heroic deeds.
You boast and strut; and if no song is sung,
No laudatory epic writ in blood,
Telling how many widows you have made,
Why then, perforce, you say our bards are dead
And inspiration sleeps to wake no more.
And we, the women, we whose lives you are--

What can we do but sit in silent homes,
And wait and suffer? Not for us the blare
Of trumpets and the bugle's call to arms--
For us no waving banners, no supreme
Triumphant hour of conquest. Ours the slow
Dread torture of uncertainty, each day
The bootless battle with the same despair,
And when at best your victories reach our ears,
There reaches with them, to our pitying hearts,
The thought of countless homes made desolate,
And other women weeping for their dead.

O men, wise men, superior beings, say,
Is there no substitute for war in this
Great age and era! If you answer "No,"
Then let us rear our children to be wolves,
And teach them from the cradle how to kill.
Why should we women waste our time and words
In talking peace, when men declare for war?

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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