Home > Uncategorized > Cecelia De Vere: The American flag. Peacemakers, called the children of Great God.

Cecelia De Vere: The American flag. Peacemakers, called the children of Great God.

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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

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Cecelia De Vere
The American Flag
Read at the Mystic Peace Convention

It was the emblem of a dawning day,
Type of earth’s brave, aggressive hope,
The hope that called to freedom far away
To take a heritage of broader scope.

That flag flashed glory from the loftiest hight,
Spanned with new smiles the solemn circling sky,
Holding the stars it rescued from the night
(The stars colonial) sparkling safe and high.

Crushed nations gladly saw through blinding tears
Emancipation’s herald, true and bold,
Oppression’s air was rent with ringing cheers,
And tyrants read their doom in every fold.

The Young Republic waved it to the gale,
Pressing through curling flame and rolling smoke;
Strong, rapturous voices proudly bade it hail,
While manhood trampled on a royal yoke.

Bright broke the sunburst o’er the battlefield
In splendid contrast to its darkling woe,
Fair rose our ensign, unto freedom sealed,
As free from blood as morning’s vivid glow.

‘Tis true brave men lay white beneath its bloom,
While sorrow held its staff and wept their fall;
Still of grim war it prophesied the doom,
For honor raised it up at heaven’s call.

What was “Old Glory”? Dreamed we it could fade,
Or lose the loveliness that arched the tide?
Was it an idol for our homage made
That matin music reared aloft with pride?

Whate’er it was, the world now sees with pain
That flag subservient to greed’s desire,
Treason’s black brand, fierce slaughter’s crimson stain
And whelming selfishness that blights like fire.

The world now sees the banner of our boasts
Dragged to debasement through invasion’s crimes,
Tattered and crumpled ‘neath the putrid hosts
Rapaciously cut down in their own climes.

It will not cleanse through leagues of sea outspread,
Nor purify below the tropic sun;
It is the winding sheet of murdered dead,
The pall of victories but lately won.

O Liberty, bend o’er our flag and weep!
Thy tears will fall, not on its stains alone,
But they will fall that schemes so foul and deep
Were bred like serpents in a land thine own;

And that misguided patriotic sons
Were slaughtering helpless ones on sea and shore,
That “Christian” men stood calmly at their guns
And saw poor victims deluged in their gore.

Ah! they forgot the angels’ midnight song,
These military slaves who must obey,
Who dare not flinch however great the wrong
That plants its hideous form in virtue’s way.

Poor military slaves! they prove apace
The savage blindness that has ruled the years,
When the fair flag that gladness brought the race
Now symbolizes rapine, blood and tears.

It should have fluttered to the angels’ song,
The song of morning stars, that still is sung;
Men knelt with varying prayers through ages long,
While but one answer from the chorus rung.

Besieging centuries in garments red,
In clotted rankling raiment, kept earth’s ills,
Till simple shepherds heard those strains o’erhead,
Amid the stillness on Judea’s hills.

We trace a line of progress from that time;
Learning and science lift their voices strong;
The arts have reached an altitude sublime;
Tradition was entrusted with the song.

O deaf as well as blind the world hath been!
It did not listen to the notes of peace,
Nor hear the saving words, “Goodwill to men.”
The much it mastered still excluded these.

Peacemakers, called the children of Great God –
Shall they not shout with joy’s ecstatic thrill?
Shall they not send the messages abroad
Of peace on earth and gentle, pure goodwill?

Yea, when Bethlehem’s star doth shine within,
And hearts are tuned to love’s angelic sphere,
The whole rich symphony this life shall win;
Hark! the sweet prelude even now we hear.

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