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Mathilde Blind: Widowing the world of men to win the world

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

British writers on peace and war

Mathilde Blind: All vile things that batten on disaster follow feasting in the wake of war

Mathilde Blind: Reaping War’s harvest grim and gory

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Mathilde Blind
From The Ascent of Man

There in the rainless sands
The toil of captive hands,
That aye must do as their taskmaster bids,
Through years of dusty days
Brick by slow brick shall raise
The incarnate pride of kings – the Pyramids –
Linked with some name synonymous with slaughter
Time has effaced like a name writ in water.

For ever with fateful shocks,
Roar as of hurtling rocks,
Start fresh embattled hosts with flags unfurled,
To meet on battle-fields
With clash of spears and shields,
Widowing the world of men to win the world:
The hissing air grows dark with iron rain,
And groans the earth beneath her sheaves of slain.

***

“Peace on earth and good will unto Men!”
Came the tidings borne o’er wide dominions
The glad tidings thrilled the world as when
Spring comes fluttering on the west wind’s pinions,
When her voice is heard
Warbling through each bird. And a new-born hope
Throbs through all things infinite in scope.

“Peace on earth and good will!” came the word
Of the Son of Man, the Man of Sorrow –
But the peace turned to a flaming sword,
Turned to woe and wailing on the morrow
When with gibes and scorns,
Crowned with barren thorns,
Gashed and crucified,
On the Cross the tortured Jesus died.

***

From The Pilgrim Soul
The Ascent of Man

The Lord of the City is deafened with praises
As worshipping multitudes kneel as of old;
Nor care for the crowds of cadaverous faces,

The men that are marred and the maids that are sold –
Inarticulate masses promiscuously jumbled
And crushed ‘neath their Juggernaut idol of gold.

Lost lives of great cities bespattered and tumbled,
Black rags the rain soaks, the wind whips like a knout.
Were crouched in the streets there, and o’er them nigh stumbled

A swarm of light maids as they tripped to some rout.
The silk of their raiment voluptuously hisses
And flaps o’er the flags as loud-laughing they flout

The wine-maddened men they ne’er satiate with kisses
For the pearls and the diamonds that make them more fair.
For the flash of large jewels that fire them with blisses,

For the glitter of gold in the gold of their hair.

***

“Ah,” wailed he in tones full of agonised yearning,
Like the plaintive lament of a sickening dove
On a surf-beaten shore, whence it sees past returning

The wings of the wild flock fast fading above,
As they melt on the sky-line like foam-flakes in motion:
So sadly he wailed, ”I am Love! I am Love!”

“Behold me cast out as weed spurned of the ocean,
Half nude on the bare ground, and covered with scars,
I perish of cold here;” and, choked with emotion,

Gave a sob: at the low sob a shower of stars
Broke shuddering from heaven, pale flaming, and fell
Where the mid-city roared as with rumours of wars.

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