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Amanda M. Hicks: A Truce for the Toilers


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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war


Amanda M. Hicks
A Truce for the Toilers

Twenty millions of soldiers in barrack and camp;
Twenty millions of men to be harnessed and fed;
Twenty millions in arms that the world may have peace!
Who must drudge, who must sweat, that these millions have bread?
If men live without toil,
Who must toil in their stead?

New King of the Isles, who must delve, who must dig,
That your dreadnaughts and cruisers may ride every wave?
Who must choke in your mines, who must faint at your looms,
That your land may rank first of the mighty and brave?
New King of the Isles,
Is your problem not grave?

Sunny land of the lilies, fair land of the vine,
Do you dare fling your challenge past border and bar,
While your face is yet pale, and your sinews unknit,
For the life-blood you drained back a century far?
Fair land of the vine,
Do you dare stand for war?

Flesh of bullock for men who in idleness rust;
Brave steeds for bold riders who prance on the plain;
Black bread for the toilers who moil in the dust;
Heated milk-giving kine straining hard at the wain?
Kaiser of Fatherland,
Is your problem not plain?

Do you dare with club brandished, young Thor of the West,
Drink the blood of young children who weave and who spin,
While work-weakened mothers nurse your sons at the breast
Do you dare to stand armed the world’s plaudits to win?
Can the Stars and the Stripes
Hide the stain of your sin?

Great lords of all lands, bold captains of seas,
Call a Truce for the Toilers who delve in the clod!
Cry “Peace” to all peoples; fling the cry to the breeze!
Call a Truce of the Nations, the new Truce of God!
Call the Truce never ending?
The “White Truce of God.”

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