Home > Uncategorized > Ida Whipple Benham: War’s weeding

Ida Whipple Benham: War’s weeding


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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

Ida Whipple Benham: The Friend of Peace

Ida Whipple Benham: The White Prince of peace


Ida Whipple Benham

Death went weeding, weeding,
His sickle over his shoulder;
The weak, the old, the over-bold,
Grew weaker, wanner, colder.
He weeded them out of the garden,
The frail folk racked with pain,
The sick, and the old, and the over-bold, –
And let the strong remain.

Now Death goes weeding, weeding, –
The sword the tool he uses!
He gathers the fair, the debonair,
The young, – and the old refuses.
He gathers out of the garden
The young and the strong and the gay,
He flings them far to the ditch of war, –
And the others he bids “Stay!”

So here in the ravaged garden
And out in the cornfield yonder,
The weak remain – lonely, in pain, –
And work, and brood, and ponder
How Death digs out of the garden
The strong, and the brave, and the gay,
The flower of the years, – with blood and tears, –
And flings them as weeds away.


A Warning

Thou pastor of the flock who, crook in hand,
Leadest the younglings through the vernal land,
Take heed! take heed and hear!
The wolf is near!

In clothing of soft wool, with meek, shrewd look,
He came – small wonder if the lambs mistook
The stranger, for he seemed
The thing they dreamed.

Into the fold he leaps! his eyes are bright,
His eager mouth half open, fangs in sight?
Wilt thou not turn about
And drive him out?

Dost hesitate? and art thou, too, deceived?
Haste, ere too great thy loss to be retrieved!
Ah woe, and woe the day!
Thou bid’st him stay!

Thou foolish shepherd, nay, it cannot be?
Two shepherds for one flock, the wolf and thee!
For what, then, hath he stayed
The Boys’ Brigade.

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