Home > Uncategorized > Berton Braley: The nobler army fights the bloodless battles of industry and peace

Berton Braley: The nobler army fights the bloodless battles of industry and peace

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

American writers on peace and against war

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Berton Braley
The Nobler Army
Written expressly for Coal Age, 1915

The men who fight in Europe – they fight to maim and kill,
They heap the dead in windrows with cold and cruel skill.
They fight to wreak destruction, to lay a country bare,
And death, disease and famine are with them everywhere.
With guns and belching cannon they drive the people forth
To face the raging winter that sweeps from out the North.
The men who fight in Europe with deadly ruthlessness
Have filled the world with terror and sorrow and distress!

The men who fight in Europe – they fight to lay men low;
We fight with drill and powder, and nature is our foe,
We fight against the darkness, the secret deeps of earth,
To win the buried treasure of which we know the worth;
We fight that men may labor and love and live and dream
Amid the modern magic of iron and of steam,
And all the loot we capture the hosts of toil shall burn
To foil the winds of winter and make the engines turn.

The men who fight in Europe – they fight with courage bold
To make a people hungry and suffering and cold;
We fight to warm the hearthstone, to turn the wheels of trade,
To utilize the riches that God himself has made;
Our army digs it trenches that comfort may increase,
We fight the bloodless battles of industry and peace,
We fight for life and happiness – and not for death and dole,
This army that goes underground to mine the gleaming coal!

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