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Jessie Wiseman Gibbs: They say they are of Christ and do the works of Cain

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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

Jessie Wiseman Gibbs: Selections from the Peace Sonnets

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Jessie Wiseman Gibbs
From Peace Sonnets

XXIII
I said in haste, “O for the famine or
“The pestilence, to make us think on God!”
I knew not what I said, nor how his rod
Would smite the nations with this awful war!
If we have need of signs, what look we for
More than this bubbling blood, by blind hate sod,
Dishonored and cast out on every clod,
Which should be of Christ’s life inheritor?

O be thou wiser, my Beloved: know
They live by Him in whom his spirit dwells
Of faith and love! They triumph who dare show
The godlike deeds thereof! But Satan quells
Their valor, and they perish in defeat
Who doubt with doubt and hate with hatred meet!

XXIV
How shall we pray for them, O God, who say
They are of Christ, and do the works of Cain,
Who mind no more that they are men, nor chain
Within their bosoms the wild beasts of prey,
But let them forth to ravish and to slay,
Putting their trust in Satan and his train?
Yet are we of their kindred and their strain
For their peace and our own, we can but pray!

Yet not for peace alone, but righteousness
And truth, wherein are peace that shall endure,
And love, which is alone the perfect cure
Of all their ills and ours, the potent law
Of Heaven’s Kingdom, that must surely draw
The nations to its sway, ere Thou canst bless.

XXVI
I see through this most sacrilegious feast
Of lust and blood, a hand come on the wall
Of modern palaces and write the fall
Of kings; for from the greatest to the least,
They have been weighed in balances and ceased
From honor, having been found wanting, all,
Bringing the world again to brutish brawl:
Therefore shall they be cast out as the beast,

Until they know that God is more than they;
And these their kingdoms God shall take away
From them and give to Him who rules by right
Divine of love, and by its perfect might;
Who leads his subjects into peace, not strife,
And suffers death, Himself, to give them life.

XXVIII
The earth is God’s, the continents and seas,
The islands and the inland streams and lakes,
Each gloomy fern and golden fin that shakes
In water, each glad wing that beats the breeze
Of air, all ores and gems that melt and freeze
In hidden ducts of mountains; for He makes
Them all, and all the seeds of life, and wakes
Anew each year the beasts and grass and trees.

And ye, O Nations, do but hold in trust
A little while this wealth of his for all
His children, and should in one council call
On Him for strength to minister such stores
In honor; but ye slay the heirs and thrust
Them forth, to seize the inheritance for yours!

XXIX
Above the noise of battle and the cry
Of wounded and of dying, the vast groans
Of wasted provinces, the gathered moans
Of widows and of orphans, through the sky
I hear a Voice of lamentation high
As Heaven, a Voice of love and tears whose tones
Bewailed of old the city’s doomed stones,
That would not own her King when He was nigh.

How oft would I have gathered you, O States,
O Races, in my saving Kingdom’s fold,
But ye would not! – But still without the gates
Slew Me, nor knew your day of visitation,
Desiring this day, whereof I foretold
That it should bring such wrath and desolation!

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