Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Poem for Peace

Ah, Peace on Earth…
I’m still chuckling at the episode of the The X-files where Mulder meets an Arab genie and wishes for world peace… next morning he finds all the people gone! His wish, explains the genie, was too hard to fill any other way.

I guess every generation wonders, “What is the cause of war?” I think the answer is like the cause for cancer: no single reason. And no single solution. What helps peace? Lately, the conventional wisdom is: Democracy, human rights and the freedom of speech to inform each other about those rights, about democracy and, of course, freedom to say that peace is a Good Thing… Too bad I won’t live long enough to see democracy, plus the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights, grace Russia and the Arab world.

Meanwhile, the First World War remains a classic lesson that war is wrong. I heard once the young soldiers started out conversing with each other, “When I get home…” and then it was, “If I get home…” and finally they just weren’t saying anything ... because they just weren’t going home. In the classic poem below the man is deathly aware that the seasons will change so the ground firms up enough to move supplies to support an offensive…

I have a Rendezvous With Death
by Alan Seeger

I have a rendezvous with death
At some disputed barricade
When spring comes on with rustling shade
And apple blossoms fill the air.
I have a rendezvous with death
When spring brings back blue days, and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath;
It may be he shall pass me still.
I have a rendezvous with death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow flowers appear.

God knows ‘twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath
Where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with death
At midnight in some flaming town
When spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

He did not fail
Sean Crawford
Pray for peace
Xmas, 2014

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