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James B. Dollard: The Battle-Line

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

James B. Dollard
The Battle-Line

Athwart that land of bloss’ming vine
Stretches the awful battle-line;
A lark hangs singing in the sky,
With sullen shrapnel bursting nigh!
Along the poplar-bordered road
The peasant trudges with his load,
While horsemen and artillery
Rush to red fields that are to be!
The plains for tillage furrowed well
Are now replowed with shot and shell!
The ditches, swollen by the rain,
Show bloated faces of the slain.

The hedge-rows sweet with leaf and flower
Now mask the cannon’s murderous power!
Small birds by household cares opprest
Beg truce and time to build their nest.
The sun sinks down – oh, blest release!
And the spent world cries out for peace,
In vain! In vain! Tho’ mild stars shine,
War wakes the thundering battle-line.

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