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Nathan Haskell Dole: Thanks offering of the God of Waste and Destruction

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

American writers on peace and against war

Nathan Haskell Dole: Selections on peace

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Nathan Haskell Dole
The Nation’s Thank-offering

Oh, God of Waste and Destruction,
We are proud of our splendid show –
A nation’s mighty production,
The weapons of war and of woe!
For miles up the glorious river
The battleships, armored in steel,
Their ear-splitting volleys deliver
And their roar makes the city reel.

The smoke is the incense we offer
On the altar of death and of hate;
Its cost is poured from the coffer
Of the whole world’s peacefulest State.
Each gun eats a workman’s wages –
The keep of a wife and a child;
We squander the wealth of long ages
For the uses of horror beguiled.

Great God of Despair and of Terror,
Behold our infernal array –
The fruit of lies and of error,
The joys of a devil’s play!
In a day the rust will corrode it,
A needless war will destroy;
The furies will reap it that sowed it –
This fiendish, barbarous toy!

Accept the billions we waste on it
That might have been spent for our gain:
The tower of our fool-pride is based on it –
We are right to be boastful and vain.
We soon shall be adding great airships
From which liddite bombs may be hurled;
Then it will not pay to repair ships
That stick to the rim of the world!

So, God of Vengeance and Passion,
Enjoy this sacrifice grand
While still it is quite in the fashion
To waste the wealth of our land.
We lay our lives on the altar,
Our ruin we cheerfully meet;
Oh, let our hearts never falter!
To die for a folly is sweet!

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