Home > Uncategorized > Dana Burnet: Ammunition. The Dead.

Dana Burnet: Ammunition. The Dead.

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

American writers on peace and against war

Dana Burnett: Selections on war

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Dana Burnet
Ammunition

How do ye load your guns withal,
Ye little Lords of waste and war?
With shotted steel and lightnings chained,
And the pent thunders’ roar?

Or do ye, as I sometimes think,
To quell the foeman’s onward flood,
Ram home a charge of human life
And spit it forth in flesh and blood?

Oh, is it steel or is it bone,
Or iron price or human toll?
Is yonder noise the crash of guns
Or is it cry of mortal soul?

How do ye load your guns withal,
Ye little Lords of brief command?
What drips upon the cannon’s mouth,
What stains the scarlet of your hand?

Are those the faces of the dead
That stare from out the battle pall?
How do ye feed those smoking mouths?
How do ye load your guns withal?

Think not, ye Princes of a Day,
To cloak the thunders with a lie.
There never was a war of steel,
There is no battle save men die.

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The Dead

The dead they sleep so deep,
The dead they lie so still,
I wonder that another man
May look on them and kill.

The dead they lie so pale,
The dead they stare so deep,
I wonder that an Emperor
May look on them and sleep.

Their hands are empty cups,
No dream is in their hearts.
Their eyes are like deserted rooms
From which the guest departs.

Ah, living men are fair,
Clean-limbed and straight and strong!
But dead men lie like broken lutes
Whose dying slays a song.

Oh, will there come a time
Beneath some shining king
When we shall arm for living’s sake,
And turn from murdering?

The dead they lie so pale,
So empty of all breath –
I wonder that a living world
Can make a means of Death.

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