War Poems - Poems For War - War Song

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War Song - Poem by John Davidson

In anguish we uplift
A new unhallowed song:
The race is to the swift;
The battle to the strong.

Of old it was ordained
That we, in packs like curs,
Some thirty million trained
And licensed murderers,

In crime should live and act,
If cunning folk say sooth
Who flay the naked fact
And carve the heart of truth.

The rulers cry aloud,
"We cannot cancel war,
The end and bloody shroud
Of wrongs the worst abhor,
And order's swaddling band:
Know that relentless strife
Remains by sea and land
The holiest law of life.
From fear in every guise,
From sloth, from lust of pelf,
By war's great sacrifice
The world redeems itself.
War is the source, the theme
Of art; the goal, the bent
And brilliant academe
Of noble sentiment;
The augury, the dawn
Of golden times of grace;
The true catholicon,
And blood-bath of the race."

We thirty million trained
And licensed murderers,
Like zanies rigged, and chained
By drill and scourge and curse
In shackles of despair
We know not how to break --
What do we victims care
For art, what interest take
In things unseen, unheard?
Some diplomat no doubt
Will launch a heedless word,
And lurking war leap out!

We spell-bound armies then,
Huge brutes in dumb distress,
Machines compact of men
Who once had consciences,
Must trample harvests down --
Vineyard, and corn and oil;
Dismantle town by town,
Hamlet and homestead spoil
On each appointed path,
Till lust of havoc light
A blood-red blaze of wrath
In every frenzied sight.

In many a mountain pass,
Or meadow green and fresh,
Mass shall encounter mass
Of shuddering human flesh;
Opposing ordnance roar
Across the swaths of slain,
And blood in torrents pour
In vain -- always in vain,
For war breeds war again!

The shameful dream is past,
The subtle maze untrod:
We recognise at last
That war is not of God.


Comments about War Song by John Davidson

  • Rookie Jane Pinkerton (4/13/2014 11:41:00 PM)

    A poem that displays the horrors of war & comes to the conclusion that it is futile & creates an even more broken society than the the one that tried to repair wrongs with sending man to battle. The last line states it is not God's wish... (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Rookie Ron Flowers (5/12/2008 9:58:00 PM)

    You've captured the horrers of war. Thanks for sharing it. I hope you will read my poem 'War No More.' (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Poems About War

  1. 1. A War Song To Englishmen , William Blake
  2. 2. Love And War , Ovid
  3. 3. The Next War , Wilfred Owen
  4. 4. War Is Never Over , Cecil L. Harrison
  5. 5. From A German War Primer , Bertolt Brecht
  6. 6. Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War , Margaret Atwood
  7. 7. A Prayer In Time Of War , Alfred Noyes
  8. 8. In California During The Gulf War , Denise Levertov
  9. 9. Lessons Of The War , Henry Reed
  10. 10. War Some More , Sandra Osborne
  11. 11. Nefarious War , Li Po
  12. 12. Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind , Stephen Crane
  13. 13. Two Poems From The War , Archibald MacLeish
  14. 14. A Meditation In Time Of War , William Butler Yeats
  15. 15. On Receiving News Of The War , Isaac Rosenberg
  16. 16. Meditations In Time Of Civil War , William Butler Yeats
  17. 17. Repression Of War Experience , Siegfried Sassoon
  18. 18. Sonnet 46: Mine Eye And Heart Are At A M.. , William Shakespeare
  19. 19. Spring In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  20. 20. War Song , John Davidson
  21. 21. On Being Asked For A War Poem , William Butler Yeats
  22. 22. Woman And War , Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  23. 23. Memorial Day For The War Dead , Yehuda Amichai
  24. 24. The War Films , Sir Henry Newbolt
  25. 25. The Next War , Robert Graves
  26. 26. War Profit Litany , Allen Ginsberg
  27. 27. Song-Books Of The War , Siegfried Sassoon
  28. 28. War Of The Worlds , john tiong chunghoo
  29. 29. War-Music , Henry Van Dyke
  30. 30. To Lucasta On Going To The War - For The.. , Robert Graves
  31. 31. Dusk In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  32. 32. War Music [down On Your Knees, Achilles] , Christopher Logue
  33. 33. At The War Office, London (Affixing The .. , Thomas Hardy
  34. 34. War...War...War... , joe yourmom
  35. 35. At The War Office, London. , Thomas Hardy
  36. 36. Tell Brave Deeds Of War , Stephen Crane
  37. 37. There Was Crimson Clash Of War. , Stephen Crane
  38. 38. The Holy War , Rudyard Kipling
  39. 39. A Date With An Anti-War Protester , Chuck Audette
  40. 40. War Song , Thomas Moore
  41. 41. - Love Is War! , Ronberge (anno primo)
  42. 42. Man's Civil War , Robert Southwell
  43. 43. Fortune Of War , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  44. 44. They Gave Us A War That Nobody Wanted , Patrick O'Donnell
  45. 45. War And Peace , Franklin Pierce Adams
  46. 46. War , Charles Wagner
  47. 47. In Spite Of War , Angela Morgan
  48. 48. A Radical War Song , Thomas Babbington Macaulay
  49. 49. Declaration Of War , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  50. 50. The Ashantee War , William Topaz McGonagall
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