Home > Uncategorized > Vincent Godfrey Burns: An Ex-Serviceman Makes a Vow

Vincent Godfrey Burns: An Ex-Serviceman Makes a Vow

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

American writers on peace and against war

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Vincent Godfrey Burns
An Ex-Serviceman Makes a Vow

War is a way the statesmen play,
Getting gain from a world in pain;
Perhaps they will say on some future day
“Let us try this game again!”

Patriot wags with the same old gags
Will exhort us to enlist once more,
Hand us guns and drums with their battle-flags
For the sport of that field of gore,

Where the rockets flare and the field-guns blare
Their tidings of terrible doom,
Where the chlorined air deals death everywhere
Till earth is one ghastly tomb.

A hard hill’s crest, a machine-gun nest –
There the bayonets will do their worst!
But God I’ve confessed I will do my best
That the foe will kill me first!

I’d rather die like a pig in a stye
With a bullet through my head,
Than hear that cry where the red heaps lie –
The last, soft sob of the dead!

Oh, God in heaven, let loose Thy leaven
Of Love in the hearts of men,
That forgiving seventy times the seven
Our world may have Peace! Amen.

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