Treasure Island

Julia Ward Howe

(1819 - 1910 / United States)

Mother's Day Proclamation


Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Ina Ayliffe (5/14/2007 2:10:00 AM)

    This is a wonderful poem that touched me deeply. This was the real meaning of Mother's Day. As with so many other things, Mother's Day has been stolen by the commercial trade, and nothing remains of the original intent. We women should gather together for a congress(women from all nations) and denounce war. We should tell those who start wars that we will no longer allow our sons and daughters to be used in the destruction of innocent women and children, and to be sent home in body bags or with wounds so devastating and minds so destroyed that they can never be restored. The final indignity is to be denied health care so that they have a chance to stabelize. This lack of care for our vets is a national disgrace, but what can you expect from a bunch of liars. (Report) Reply

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