Home > Uncategorized > Vita Sackville-West: Man’s war on his fellow creatures

Vita Sackville-West: Man’s war on his fellow creatures

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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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Vita Sackville-West
From To Any M.F.H.

Though warring men must stain the west
Doubly with sunset’s barbarous dye,
Leaving the plumes of manhood’s crest,
A shameful yet proud bequest,
In trails of blood across the sky,

Within the acres that I rule
The little patch of peace I vaunt,
Where ways are safe and shadows cool,
Shall come no scarlet-coated fool
To tease my foxes from their haunt.

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From Out With a Gun

Christ! has the world not pain enough
That I should shatter with a shot
– As one who crept with conscious plot,
Evil, malevolent, and rough –
This innocence of lowlihood?

****

Sometimes When Night…

Sometimes when night has thickened on the woods,
And we in the house’s square security
Read, speak a little, read again,
Read life at second-hand, speak of small things,
Being content and withdrawn for a little hour
From the dangers and fears that are either wholly absent
Or wholly invading, – sometimes a shot rings out
Sudden and sharp; complete. It has no sequel,
No sequel for us, only the sudden crack
Breaking a silence followed by a silence,
Too slight a thing for comment; slight, and usual,
A shot in the dark, fired by a hand unseen
At a life unknown; finding, or missing, the mark?
Bringing death? bringing hurt? teaching, perhaps, escape,
Escape from a present threat, a threat recurrent,
Or ending, once and for all? But we read on,
Since the shot was not at our hearts, since the mark was not
Your heart or mine, not this time, my companion.

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