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Mettle

November 11, 2018

He hasn’t had to go to war,
and won’t. He’s lived a Golden Age,
when young men of the village stayed
to build, and guide the plough, uncalled;
endowed by those who came before.

But now an ugly chorus grows
of senators and consuls, who
sing battle songs at heroes’ tombs,
and claim we need new heroes so
our children know that this is Rome.

He says: each dawn still yields the sun,
and Mars has opportunity
enough to slake his thirst, and meet
his other needs, without our sons;
that wars unfought are mettle won.

 

 

Published 11/11/2018 in Hedgehog Poetry Press’s Stickleback collection Other People’s Freedoms, to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Raymond Offenheiser permalink
    November 11, 2018 4:08 pm

    Phil,

    Beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing. Here is a fascinating article in the New Yorker on the Armistice treaty process and how it was handled by the Allies and communicated to the German populace, setting the stage for the rise of Hitler. Interesting take on the history of that era.

    Best

    Ray

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/11/05/a-hundred-years-after-the-armistice

    On Sun, Nov 11, 2018 at 9:37 AM Phil Vernon’s blog wrote:

    > Phil Vernon posted: “He hasn’t had to go to war, and won’t. He’s lived a > Golden Age, when young men of the village stayed to build, and guide the > plough, uncalled; endowed by those who came before. But now an ugly chorus > grows of senators and consuls, who sing battle songs a” >

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