Tag Archives: war

Our Country

To all who hope for Freedom’s gleam
Across the warring years,
Who offer life to build a dream
In laughter or in tears,
To all who toil, unmarked, unknown,
By city, field or sea,
I give my heart, I reach my hand,
A common hope, a common land
Is made of you and me.

For we have loved her summer dawns
Beyond the misty hill,
And we have shared her toil, her fruit
Of farm and shop and mill.
Our weaknesses have made her shame,
Our strength has built her powers,
And we have hoped and we have striven
That to her children might be given
A fairer world than ours.

We dreamed to hold her safe, apart
From strife; the dream was vain.
Her heart is now earth’s bleeding heart,
She shares the whole earth’s pain.
To men oppressed in all the lands
One flashing hope has gone,
One vision wide as earth appears,
We seek, across the warring years,
The gray world’s golden dawn.

~Anna Louise Strong~

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The Man From Sangamon, At Gettysburg

I am a man who knew Abe Lincoln well;
We logged together on the Sangamon.
Abe was a thinker then, we noticed that;
Noticed the way he used to go apart
And watch the sunset flush the western sky
Until the river seemed a thing of flame.
Abe would sit there, a little off from us,
The soft wind blowing his unruly locks,
His face alight with deep, unspoken dreams.
It was as if he visioned the long way
His great, gaunt frame would one day have to go;
As if he heard the distant roar of war.
I have seen tears start in Abe Lincoln’s eyes
And run unheeded down his wind-bronzed cheeks
Even as long ago as those old days
When we were logging on the Sangamon.

After the day’s hard work we would sit there,
Lost in the wild, still beauty of the place;
(I can recall the smell of early spring
That settled on the river after dark);
Would sit and watch the stars come slowly out
And hear the water lap against our boat
And lose ourselves in quietness and sleep.
But Lincoln would sit on, deep in his thoughts,
One day we saw a slave sold on the bank:
That night Abe Lincoln’s heavy brows were knit
In troubled thought. That night
He did not close his brooding eyes,
But sat there thinking till the morning sun
Turned the pale sky into a flood of light.

Today, when I stood there at Gettysburg,
And saw that figure that I knew and loved
Take its quiet place—
How can I put in words
The thoughts that surged so swiftly through my heart?
This was the man I knew so well and long—
This man who spoke such simple, tender words—
Truths that would root and grow and bear much fruit!
Somehow, when he had finished, I ran forth
And caught his great hand close within my own:
“Abe!” I cried, huskily. “You know me, Abe?”
There, in the great crowd, he leaned on my arm.
Tears of delight were on his homely face.
“It is as if,” he told me, brokenly,
“The years of war and horror were wiped out
And we were on the Sangamon again.
My heart has hungered after you, my friend.”

That was Abe Lincoln, friend of all the world.

~Eleanor G. R. Young~

The Flag of Peace

Men long have fought for their flying flags,
They have died those flags to save;
Their long staves rest on the shattered breast,
They are planted deep in the grave.
Now the world’s new flag is streaming wide,
Far-flying wide and high.
It shall cover the earth from side to side
As the rainbow rings the sky.

The flag of the day when men shall stand
For service, not for fight;
When every race, in every land,
Shall join for the world’s delight;
When all our flags shall blend in one,
And all our wars shall cease,
‘Neath the new flag, the true flag,
The rainbow flag of peace.

~Charlotte Perkins Gilman~

The Wisdom of Henry David Thoreau

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Henry David Thoreau

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. Henry David Thoreau

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all. Henry David Thoreau

Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste to the sky as well as the earth! Henry David Thoreau

The Sunlight On The Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

~Louis Macneice~

Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

~Wilfred Owen~

Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori: It is sweet and right to die for your country

The Greatest Battle That Ever Was Fought

The greatest battle that ever was fought—
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not:
It was fought by the Mothers of Men.

Not with cannon or battle shot,
With sword or nobler pen;
Not with eloquent word or thought
From the wonderful minds of men;

But deep in a walled up woman’s heart;
A woman that would not yield;
But bravely and patiently bore her part;
Lo! there is that battlefield.

No marshalling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But Oh these battles they last so long—
From babyhood to the grave!

But faithful still as a bridge of stars
She fights in her walled up town;
Fights on, and on, in the endless wars;
Then silent, unseen goes down!

Ho! ye with banners and battle shot,
With soldiers to shout and praise,
I tell you the kingliest victories fought
Are fought in these silent ways.
~Joaquin Miller~

I Am Not A Badge Of Honour

I am not a badge of honour,
I am not a racist smear,
I am not a fashion statement,
To be worn but once a year.

I am not glorification
Of conflict or of war.
I am not a paper ornament
A token, I am more.

I am a loving memory,
Of a father or a son,
A permanent reminder
Of each and every one.

I’m paper or enamel
I’m old or shining new,
I’m a way of saying thank you,
To every one of you.

I am a simple poppy
A Reminder to you all,
That courage faith and honour,
Will stand where heroes fall.

~Paul Hunter~

The Holocaust

The Holocaust is remembered in Israel with ceremonies yesterday continuing into today…

………..I have not entirely lost my faith in mankind………………………. I have tried to carry out the mandate given  to me by the many fellow internees at Auschwitz who perished so horribly.  This is my memorial to them.  God rest their poor souls!  No hell anyone could conceive could equal what they endured.   from the novel Five Chimneys by ~Olga Lengyel~  it is the true chronicle of a woman who survived the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz.

One night we were awakened by terrifying cries.  And we discovered, on the following day, from the men working the Sonder-Kommando…that on the preceding day, the gas supply having run out, they had thrown the children into the furnaces alive.  ~Marie Vaillant~ a prisoner in Auschwitz

The cemetery is in our heart.  from the novel Night by ~Elie Wiesel~

Ironically, the horrors of war have taught me that there are things that are worse than war and against them determined and careful war should be waged, in the name of the innocent and the weak. ~Ed Vulliamy~

 

Five Chimneys

On April 11, 1945 the U.S. Military liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald…

Excerpts from the book, Five Chimneys by Olga Lengyel; the true chronicle of a woman who survived the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz…

To the many fellow internees at Auschwitz who perished so horribly, God rest their poor souls! No hell anyone could conceive could equal what they endured. Even in the jungle of Birkenau, all were not necessarily inhuman to their fellow men. It is that hope which keeps me alive.

…A new transport had just arrived; and the screams of the women and children, being separated in the first selection as they disembarked from the trains, rose above the conversation in the washroom.  Flames from the crematory chimneys belched towards the sky.

..A hoist lifted the bodies into the ovens.  The corpses were sorted methodically.  The babies went in first, as kindling, then came the bodies of the emaciated, and finally the larger bodies.

…Nature dictates that wherever men and women are together there shall also be love.  Even in the shadow of the crematory the emotions could not be entirely suppressed.  Love, or what passed for it in the degraded atmosphere of the death camp, was but a distortion of what it is for normal people, for society in Birkenau was but a distortion of a normal human society.

…Looking back, I, too, want to forget.  I, too, yearn for sunshine and peach and happiness.  But it is not easy to erase memories of Gehenna when the roots of life have been destroyed and one has nothing living to go back to.  In setting down this personal record I have tried to carry out the mandate given to me by the many fellow internees at Auschwitz who perished so horribly.  This is my memorial to them.  God rest their poor souls!  No hell anyone could conceive could equal what they endured.

 

 

 

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