When mighty issues loom before us,
The petty great men of the day seem small,
Like pigmies standing in a blaze of light
Before some grim, majestic mountain height.
War with its bloody and impartial hand
Reveals the hidden weakness of a land--
Uncrowns the heroes trusting Peace has made
Of men whose honor is a thing of trade,
And turns the search-light full on many a place
Where proud conventions long have masked disgrace.
Oh, lovely Peace! as thou art fair be wise;
Demand great men and great men shall arise
To do thy bidding. Even as warriors come,
Swift at the call of bugle and of drum,
So at the voice of Peace, imperative
As bugle's call, shall heroes spring to live
For country and for thee. In every land,
In every age, men are what times demand.
Demand the best, oh Peace, and teach thy sons
They need not rush in front of death-charged guns,
With murder in their hearts, to prove their worth.
The grandest heroes who have graced the earth
Were love-filled souls, who did not seek the fray,
But chose the safe, hard, high and lonely way
Of selfless labor for a suffering world.
Beneath our glorious flag, again unfurled
In victory, such heroes wait to be
Called into bloodless action, Peace, by thee.
Be thou insistent in thy stern demand,
And wise great men shall rise up in the land.
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Cosmopolitan Magazine 26 (1898): 355.
|Back to Poem Index|