Home > Uncategorized > Conrad Aiken: The history of war is the history of mankind, seven thousand million dead on the field of battle

Conrad Aiken: The history of war is the history of mankind, seven thousand million dead on the field of battle

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

American writers on peace and against war

Conrad Aiken: Vast symphonic dance of death

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Conrad Aiken
From The Wars and the Unknown Soldier

Conrad_Aiken

Dry leaves, soldier, dry leaves, dead leaves;
voices of leaves on the wind that bears them to
destruction,
impassioned prayer, impassioned hymn of delight
of the gladly doomed to die. Stridor of beasts,
stridor of men, praises of lust and battle,
numberless as waves, the waves singing
to the wind that bears them down.

Under Osiris,
him of the Egyptian priests, Osynmandyas the King,
easward into Asia we passed, swarmed over Bactria,
three thousand years before Christ.

The history of war
is the history of mankind.
So many dead:
look at them there in the dark, look at them going,
the longest parade of all, the parade of the dead:
between then and now, seven thousand million dead:
dead on the field of battle.

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