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Harriet King: Life is Peace

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

British writers on peace and war

Women writers on peace and war

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Harriet King

From A Canticle of Pentecost

Spirit of Peace art Thou, for Thou art Life,
And Life is Peace, – eternal, changeless, one:
Death is division, change, and war; – the strife
Of force with force: – Thy reign hath not begun.

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But still Death wars on Life, Death is not slain,
Still are we subject to the body of death:
O Spirit, O sweet Spirit, may Thy reign
Come quickly, – long, too long it tarrieth.

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The empire of the Spirit lost to them,
Exiles in Babylon, flesh-bound in their fall.
Dimly remembering their Jerusalem,
Their city of Peace, the Mother of us all.

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O Dove, that bearing still the olive leaf,
Returnest ever to Thy ark below.
Asking but harbourage,- what can be our grief
Possessing Thee, but lest we let Thee go ?

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From Execution of Felice Orsini

Not a conqueror’s State entry,
With his armies marching back
Under triumphal arches,
A glittering scarlet track,
When the wide streets glare in sunshine,
And the bells ring out all day.
And the people shout together.
Knowing not what they say: –
Only a winter’s morning,
Crowds standing silent by,
A prison and a scaffold,
And a man brought out to die.

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