Home > Uncategorized > John Drinkwater: I sing of peace while nations market in death

John Drinkwater: I sing of peace while nations market in death

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

British writers on peace and war

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John Drinkwater
Of Greatham
(To Those Who Live There)

For peace, than knowledge more desirable,
Into your Sussex quietness I came,
When summer’s green and gold and azure fell
Over the world in flame.

And peace upon your pasture-lands I found,
Where grazing flocks drift on continually,
As little clouds that travel with no sound
Across a windless sky.

Out of your oaks the birds call to their mates
That brood among the pines, where hidden deep
From curious eyes a world’s adventure waits
In columned choirs of sleep.

Under the calm ascension of the night
We heard the mellow lapsing and return
Of night-owls purring in their groundling flight
Through lanes of darkling fern.

Unbroken peace when all the stars were drawn
Back to their lairs of light, and ranked along
From shire to shire the downs out of the dawn
Were risen in golden song.

I sing of peace who have known the large unrest
Of men bewildered in their travelling;
And I have known the bridal earth unblest
By the brigades of spring.

I have known that loss. And now the broken thought
Of nations marketing in death I know,
The very winds to threnodies are wrought
That on your downlands blow.

I sing of peace. Was it but yesterday
I came among your roses and your corn?
Then momently amid this wrath
I pray For yesterday reborn.

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