Home > Uncategorized > Jessie Wiseman Gibbs: We feed bread of our children to the war-god’s greed

Jessie Wiseman Gibbs: We feed bread of our children to the war-god’s greed

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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

Jessie Wiseman Gibbs: Selections from the Peace Sonnets


Jessie Wiseman Gibbs
From Peace Sonnets

Has Christ failed, then, in Europe? Nay, but her
Philosophers, her diplomats, her courts
Have failed Him, trusting not his heavenly forts
Of faith and love, nor daring from them stir
In valor of his cross, to minister
His life. Therefore for refuge she resorts
To fear and hate, and all her host reports
In camp of the Eternal Murderer.

Christ cannot fail, but He is still the Prince
Of Peace. The Prince of this World faileth since
The world began, and he shall always fail;
He is the Enemy and Christ, the Friend,
Who by his love shall mightily prevail
And of whose Kingdom there shall be no end.

Think we that those on whom this tower of ill
Descends, whose blood is mingled thus in vain
With hopeless sacrifices, who so strain
To bring forth good from evil, and fulfil
Their own destruction while they waste and kill,
Think we that they above all lands profane
God’s will, and so in chastisement obtain
His judgment, from which we are scatheless still?

I tell you nay, but except we repent,
Ourselves shall likewise perish: for we feed
Bread of our children to the war-god’s greed
And with unholy mammon are defiled,
And turn away the face of our own child
From Christ, and know not our impoverishment!

The minds of kings are dark; their thoughts are cast
In molds of a dead era, when they traced
Their way to thrones through wars, and ever braced
Themselves thereon by wars; they still hold fast
To that unholy refuge of the past,
Not knowing how a new age hath effaced
Their covenant with death , and firmly based
The strength of nations in Heaven’s life, at last.

But we are of the future; we are free;
And looking from the future’s height, we see
A new United States, of Europe, rise
Out of her ashes and her agonies,
And bid her hail, and cry the King of Kings
Hasten to gather her beneath his wings!

The soul is infinite: the whole world lies,
Of peace and discord, hope and fear, praise, blame,
Heavenly glory and infernal shame,
Folden within its possibilities;
And he who scorns the spirit is not wise;
For out of it all strength and weakness came,
And it alone survives the wreck and flame,
And on it still the social pillars rise.

And I have seen Heaven’s Kingdom fully come
Within a soul disordered and accursed
As this old, sin-sick, warring world, at worst,
Bringing it forth with power to a new birth
Of life and peace; and this is all my sum
Of hope to see that Kingdom come on earth.

Of old when men were children and conceived
Of God as one who loved their little tribe,
While other tribes had other gods, to gibe
And jeer at theirs, and hate in Heaven grieved
Men’s souls to dare the slaughter they believed
God’s will for earth, war was a boast the scribe
Could chronicle and poets might ascribe
Glory to him who most despite achieved.

But now men know one God and Father of
Them all, one Elder Brother, whose dear love
Is Heaven’s law for earth: war is revealed
A deed most blasphemous, profaning sky
And earth, a most unnatural crime, the yield
Of perfidy and infidelity .

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