THE VOICE OF THE CRUTCH

I am the voice of the crutch,
    And over the whole world's noise
The new world rising from the blood-stained dust
And ashes, and smouldering ember--
    Over earth's pæan of hopes and joys,
And its reborn faith and trust,
My voice shall be saying 'Remember,'
With my thump, thump, thump, I shall say to the world 'Remember.'

I shall thump my wearisome way
    Down over decades to be;
My voice will be heard for threescore years,
A dissonant note in life's measure.
    A jarring refrain in its song of glee
That will change youth's laughter to tears,
And shadow its moments of pleasure.
With my thump, thump, thump, I shall shadow earth's moments of pleasure.

All over the whole wide world,
    As I thump out my note of pain,
The cry of the maimed and blind and deaf
Shall into a chorus swell it;
    For the voice of Peace cannot utter a strain
That shall drown war's story of sin and grief,
And mine is the task to tell it.
With my thump, thump, thump, I shall go through the world and tell it.

I shall tell the story of war,
    And murder and lust and wrong;
Of deeds too dark to be given name;
Of children sired by a sabre;
    And a hybrid race will join in my song,
While a sad world listens in shame
As it bends to its peaceful labour.
With my thump, thump, thump, I will sing to it in its labour.

I would hinder the growing world
    As it hurries along in the race
And builds for beauty and peace,
From thinking of war as glory.
    I would have it look war in the face
With a horror that cannot cease
Through knowing the truth of the story.
With my thump, thump, thump, I will tell to the last that story.

Poems of affection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1920.


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