Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

A Plea


Why need we newer arms invent,
Poor peoples to destroy?
With what we have let's be content
And perfect their employ.
With weapons that may millions kill,
Why should we seek for more,
A brighter spate of blood to spill,
A deeper sea of gore?

The lurid blaze of atom light
Vast continents will blind,
And steep in centuries of night
Despairing humankind.
So let's be glad for gun and blade,
To fight with honest stuff:
Are tank, block-buster, hand-grenade
And napalm not enough?

Oh to go back a thousand years
When arrows winged their way,
When foemen fell upon the spears
And swords were swung to slay!
Behold! Belching in Heaven black
Mushrooms obscene!
Dear God, the brave days give us back,
When wars were clean!

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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