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Ella Wheeler Wilcox: Women and War


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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

Ellen Wheeler Wilcox: The Paean of Peace

Ella Wheeler Wilcox: A Plea To Peace


Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Women and War

We women teach our little sons how wrong
And how ignoble blows are; school and church
Support our precepts, and inoculate
The growing minds with thoughts of love and peace.
“Let dogs delight to bark and bite,” we say;
But human beings with immortal souls
Must rise above the methods of the brute,
And walk with reason and with self-control.

And then? dear God! you men, you wise, strong men,
Our self-announced superiors in brain,
Our peers in judgment, you go forth to war!
You leap at one another, mutilate
And starve and kill your fellowmen, and ask
The world’s applause for such heroic deeds.
You boast and strut; and if no song is sung,
No laudatory epic writ in blood,
Telling how many widows you have made,
Why then, perforce, you say our bards are dead
And inspiration sleeps to wake no more.

And we, the women, we whose lives you are?
What can we do but sit in silent homes,
And wait and suffer? Not for us the blare
Of trumpets and the bugles’ call to arms?
For us no waving banners, no supreme
Triumphant hour of conquest. Ours the slow
Dread torture of uncertainty, each day
The bootless battle with the same despair,
And when at last your victories reach our ears,
There reaches with them, to our pitying hearts,
The thought of countless homes made desolate,
And other women weeping for their dead.

O men, wise men, superior beings, say,
Is there no substitute for war in this
Great age and era! If you answer “No,”
Then let us rear our children to be wolves,
And teach them from the cradle how to kill.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 15, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Reblogged this on Piazza della Carina.

    • Rick Rozoff
      April 15, 2021 at 10:38 am

      Thank you. The poet was from Wisconsin.

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