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John Drinkwater: We Mothers Know

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

British writers on peace and war

John Drinkwater: I sing of peace while nations market in death

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John Drinkwater
We Mothers Know

“Peace,” they have said,
Through the sad profit of our pain.
We grieve till time is gone,
We shall not learn to build again
The bricks of Babylon –
Our sons are dead.

Stilled are the guns,
Good will, they say, shall heal, shall bless
The lands now, year by year,
But though the merciful possess
The earth, they shall not hear
Our little sons.

They were our friends:
Our thought, our breath, our blood we gave
To make them so;
They brought us peace, and in the grave
Is all the peace they know,
To make amends.

Leaders and lords,
Who in your pride degree that thus
Or thus shall scores be paid,
An age is building when with us
Your reckoning shall be made
Who have no sword.

We mothers know;
By the world’s hearths we sit and dream;
Again we watch them die;
They willed the peace that you blaspheme,
And, though you still deny,
It shall be so.

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