War is Kind

War is Kind

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Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.Because your lover threw wild hands toward the skyAnd the affrighted steed ran on alone,Do not weep.War is kind.

       Hoarse, booming drums of the           regiment,       Little souls who thirst for fight,       These men were born to drill and die.       The unexplained glory files above          them,       Great is the battle-god, great, and his           kingdom—       A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.Because your father tumbled in the yellow    trenches,Raged at his breast, gulped and died,Do not weep.War is kind.

       Swift blazing flag of the regiment,       Eagle with crest of red and gold,       These men were born to drill and die.       Point for them the virtue of the slaughter,        Make plain to them the excellence of killing       And a field where a thousand corpses           lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a buttonOn the bright splendid shroud of your son,Do not weep.War is kind.

What says the sea, little shell?"What says the sea?"Long has our brother been silent to us,"Kept his message for the ships,"Awkward ships, stupid ships."

"The sea bids you mourn, O Pines,"Sing low in the moonlight."He sends tale of the land of doom,"Of place where endless falls"A rain of women's tears,"And men in grey robes—"Men in grey robes—"Chant the unknown pain."

"What says the sea, little shell?"What says the sea?"Long has our brother been silent to us,"Kept is message for the ships,"Puny ships, silly ships."

"The sea bids you teach, O Pines,"Sing low in the moonlight;"Teach the gold of patience,"Cry gospel of gentle hands,"Cry a brotherhood of hearts."The sea bids you teach, O Pines."

"And where is the reward, little shell?"What says the sea?"Long has our brother been silent to us,"Kept his message for the ships,"Puny ships, silly ships."

"No word says the sea, O Pines,"No word says the sea."Long will your brother be silent to you,"Keep his message for the ships,"O puny ships, silly pines."

To the maidenThe sea was blue meadow,Alive with little froth-peopleSinging.

To the sailor, wrecked,The sea was dead grey wallsSuperlative in vacancy,Upon which nevertheless at fateful timeWas writtenThe grim hatred of nature.

A little ink more or less!It surely can't matter?Even the sky and the opulent sea,The plains and the hills, aloof,Hear the uproar of all these books.But it is only a little ink more or less.

What?You define me God with these trinkets?Can my misery meal on an ordered walkingOf surpliced numskulls?And a fanfare of lights?Or even upon the measured pulpitingsOf the familiar false and true?Is this God?Where, then is hell?Show me some bastard mushroomsSprung from a pollution of blood.It is better.

Where is God?

"Have you ever made a just man?""Oh, I have made three," answered     God,"But two of them are dead,"And the third—"Listen! Listen!"And you will hear the thud of his defeat."

I explain the silvered passing of a ship     at night,The sweep of each sad lost wave,The dwindling boom of the steel thing's striving,The little cry of a man to a man,A shadow falling across the greyer night,And the sinking of the small star;

Then the waste, the far waste of waters,And the soft lashing of black wavesFor long and in loneliness....