Home > Uncategorized > Ernesto Cardenal: They speak of peace and secretly prepare for war

Ernesto Cardenal: They speak of peace and secretly prepare for war

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Ernesto Cardenal
Psalm 5 (a paraphrase)
Translated by Robert Marquez

Give ear to my words, O Lord
Hearken unto my moaning
Pay heed to my protest
For you are not a God friendly to dictators
neither are you a partisan of their politics
Nor are you influenced by their propaganda
Neither are you in league with the gangster

There is no sincerity in their speeches
nor in their press releases

They speak of peace in their speeches
while they increase their war production
They speak of peace at Peace Conferences
and secretly prepare for war
Their lying radios roar into the night
Their desks are strewn with criminal intentions and sinister reports
But you will deliver me from their plans
They speak through the mouth of the submachine gun
Their flashing tongues are bayonets…

Punish them, O Lord,
thwart them in their policies
confuse their memorandums
obstruct their programs

At the hour of Alarm
you shall be with me
you shall be my refuge on the day of the Bomb
To him who believes not in the lies of their commercial messages
nor in their publicity campaigns nor in their political campaigns
you will give your blessing
With love do you encompass him
As with armor-plated tanks.

Psalm 5 (King James Version)

A Prayer for Protection
To the chief Musician upon Ne’hiloth, A Psalm of David.

Give ear to my words, O LORD;
consider my meditation.

Hearken unto the voice of my cry,
my King, and my God:
for unto thee will I pray.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD;
in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee,
and will look up.

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness:
neither shall evil dwell with thee.

The foolish shall not stand in thy sight:
thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing:
the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy:
and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies;
make thy way straight before my face.

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
their inward part is very wickedness;
their throat is an open sepulchre;
they flatter with their tongue.

Destroy thou them, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions;
for they have rebelled against thee.

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice:
let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them:
let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous;
with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

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