Home > Uncategorized > Jack London: Some day all men will counsel peace. No man will slay his fellow. All men will plant.

Jack London: Some day all men will counsel peace. No man will slay his fellow. All men will plant.

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

American writers on peace and against war

Jack London: War

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Jack London
From The Acorn-Planter (1916)

RED CLOUD
He who plants acorns reaps food, and food is life. He who sows war reaps war, and war is death.

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RED CLOUD
Shaman I am not.
I know not the secret things.
I say the things I know.
When you plant kindness you harvest kindness.
When you plant blood you harvest blood.
He who plants one acorn makes way for life.
He who slays one man slays the planter of a thousand acorns.

****

RED CLOUD
There will come a day when men will not slay men and when all men will be brothers. And in
that day all men will plant acorns.

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RED CLOUD
Ever was I for peace, but in war I did not command. Ever I sought the secrets of the growing
things, the times and seasons for planting. Ever I planted acorns, making two black oak trees
grow where one grew before. And now all is ended. Oh my black oak acorns! My black oak acorns! Who will plant them now?

****

RED CLOUD
Ever I counseled peace and planting.

SUN MAN
Some day all men will counsel peace. No man will slay his fellow. All men will plant.

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SUN MEN
Our brothers follow on the trail we blaze.
Where howled the wolf and ached the naked plain
Spring bounteous harvests at our brothers’ hands;
In place of war’s alarums, peaceful days;
Above the warrior’s grave the golden grain
Turns deserts grim and stark to laughing lands.

****

RED CLOUD
Good tidings! Good tidings
To the sons of men!
Good tidings! Good tidings!
War is dead!

(Light begins to suffuse the hillside, revealing RED CLOUD far up the hillside in a commanding position on an out-jut of rock.)

Lo, the New Day dawns,
The day of brotherhood,
The day when all men
Shall be kind to all men,
And all men shall be sowers of life.

(From every side a burst of voices.)

Hail to Red Cloud!
The Acorn-Planter!
The Life-Maker!
Hail! All hail!
The New Day dawns,
The day of brotherhood,
The day of man.

(A band of WARRIORS appears on hillside.)

WARRIORS
Hail, Red Cloud!
Mightier than all fighting men!
The slayer of War!
We are not sad.
Our eyes were blinded.
We did not know one acorn planted
Was mightier than an hundred fighting men.
We are not sad.
Our red work was when
The world was young and wild.
The world has grown wise.
No man slays his brother.
Our work is done.
In the light of the new day are we glad.

(A band of PIONEERS and SEA EXPLORERS appears.)

PIONEERS and SEA EXPLORERS
Hail, Red Cloud!
The first planter!
The Acorn-Planter!
We sang that War would die,
The anarch of our wild and wayward past.
We sang our brothers would come after,
Turning desert into garden,
Sowing friendship, and not hatred,
Planting seeds instead of dead men,
Growing men to manhood in the sun.

****
(A band of HUSBANDMEN appear, bearing fruit and sheaves of grain and corn.)

HUSBANDMEN
Hail, Red Cloud!
The first planter!
The Acorn-Planter!
The harvests no more are red, but golden,
We are thy children.
We plant for increase,
Increase of wheat and corn,
Of fruit and flower,
Of sheep and kine,
Of love and lovers;
Rich are our harvests
And many are our lovers.

RED CLOUD
Death is a stench in the nostrils,
Life is beauty and joy.
The planters are ever brothers.
Never are the warriors brothers;
Their ways are set apart,
Their hands raised each against each.
The planters’ ways are the one way.
Ever they plant for life,
For life more abundant,
For beauty of head and hand,
For the voices of children playing,
And the laughter of maids in the twilight
And the lover’s song in the gloom.

ALL VOICES
Hail, Red Cloud!
The first planter!
The Acorn-Planter!
The maker of life!
Hail! All hail!
The New Day dawns,
The day of brotherhood,
The day of man!

 

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