Chant Before Battle

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Ever since man was man a Fiend has stood
Outside his House of Good,
War, with his terrible toys, that win men's hearts
To follow murderous arts.

His spurs, death-won, are but of little use,
Except as old refuse
Of Life; to hang and testify with rust
Of deeds, long one with dust.

A rotting fungus on a log, a tree,
A toiling worm, or bee,
Serves God's high purpose here on Earth to build
More than War's maimed and killed.

The Hebetude of asses, following still
Some Emperor's will to kill,
Is that of men who give their lives for what?
The privilege to be shot!

Grant men more vision, Lord! to read thy words,
That are not guns and swords,
But trees and flowers, lovely forms of Earth,
And all fair things of worth.

So he may rise above the brute and snake,
And of his reason make
A world befitting, as thou hast designed,
His greater soul and mind!

So he may rid himself of worm and beast,
And sit with Love at feast,
And make him worthy to be named thy son,
As He, thy Holy One! Amen.

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