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Ernest Crosby: Peace


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

American writers on peace and against war

Ernest Crosby: Selections against war, for peace


Ernest Crosby

Peace, O Peace, when will the nation
Lift its eyes and understand
How thou holdest all creation
In the hollow of thy hand?

Thine the strength that stays the ocean
Hypnotized within its bed;
Thine the power that keeps in motion
Constellations overhead.

Thine the orb of love afire,
Lighting up the heavens profound;
Thine the suns that never tire
Swinging planets round and round;

Thine the furnaces white-heated,
Where they forge the cosmic powers –
Where the sons of God once greeted
This new-fashioned earth of ours;

Thine the strength, serene, unshaken,
Which can master self alone,
Quelling passions when they waken,
From thy calm eternal throne.

Insult, hatred, can not reach thee
At that still, majestic height.
Make us conscious, we beseech thee,
Of our own reserves of might.

Teach us, while the battle rages,
What we never understood:
This the mystery of the ages –
Evil overcome by good.

Far above the storms and thunders,
Far above the war and strife,
Far above our sins and blunders,
At the source of strength and life –

There I see thy hand commanding
With the olive branch for rod,
Peace, that passest understanding!
Spirit of Almighty God!



When lambkin lieth down with fox,
And the leopard with an ox,
When cows and bears together feed,
While a little child shall lead,

When the lion crops his hay
Like a horse, and children play
Round the cockatrice’s den –
Where will be the soldier then?

All his courage will be there,
All he ever dared to dare,
Glowing in their ardent eyes
With a calm of paradise.

But they will have lost for good
All the soldier’s demon-mood:
All his cruelties and hates,
All that shocks and rasps and grates.

Once in man and quadruped
Lurked a Brute who now is dead.
Farewell, bloody fields and feasts
Happy children, happy beasts.

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