Home > Uncategorized > E. Merrill Root: Military drill. Murder’s witless marionettes.

E. Merrill Root: Military drill. Murder’s witless marionettes.


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

American writers on peace and against war

E. Merrill Root: Drill, like sheep with wolves’ fangs, meek to kill


E. Merrill Root
Military Drill

While the clouds float calm and free
Over mountain forests, see
Murder in its infancy! –
There they drill and drill again
Into soldiers – who were men.
In the antique Roman way,
Hypnotized toward murder, they
For – and by – whom Jesus died
Learn technique of homicide.

See the human clock-work wheel –
Not conscious men, but cogs of steel.
Theirs a cog-wheel cruelty:
They see, and know not what they see.
Trim, metallic, like cold wasps –
Or a wheel that never rasps –
Mechanism grown pedantic –
Through their homicidal antic
Without reason, without will,
Theirs but to do…and kill.

Every soul becomes a fraction
Of a schooled mob’s reflex action –
Move these living bayonets,
Murder’s witless marionettes.

Like vast scissor-blades of snow,
Snip-snap, snip-snap, see them go
Through their trim maneuvers’ mesh –
A Cubist painting come to flesh!
Legs of a whole rank flip and flirt
As though they wore a single skirt.

So trim and fine! Why think of war?
The hypnotists discreetly pour
For each soldier’s infancy
The milk of human cruelty!

Few see, upon their spotless white,
Gouts of blood burn ghastly bright!

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