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Ellen P. Allerton: Peace After War


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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war


Ellen P. Allerton
Peace After War

Rest for the dead. No more, for marches dreary,
They stretch their stiffened limbs when bugles sound;
No more at night they lie down, wet and weary,
Upon the sodden ground.

No more the gallant charge, amid the screaming
Of murderous iron ball and bursting shell,
Up steep and slippery slopes – with warm blood streaming –
“Into the mouth of hell.”

No more the dreadful search, the battle over,
While up the placid sky the white moon climbs;
No more the mournful truce, while both sides cover
Torn breasts and shattered limbs.

Not truce to-day, but peace. Soft grass is creeping,
Year after year, above the broken sod,
Where gallant foemen – foes no more – are sleeping,
Blossoms the golden rod.

Where passed the armies, when the shock of meeting,
Deep fissures were, and fields all tramped and torn,
Now happy birds, the same old song repeating,
Flit through the growing corn.

Thus Nature speaks to all, with mute appealing,
Wrapping in tender green each gaping scar.
Shall man alone resist her touch of healing,
And still remain at war?

No, no. If any lurking hate yet lingers
In any heart, oh fling it far away!
While fragrant flowers are strewed by loving fingers
Above both blue and gray.

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