Poem written in the hope of a negotiated settlement to the war in Ukraine. For those who think that a soldier’s life is worth less than that of a civilian, I would ask them to think deeply about what they are suggesting. Asking any human to sacrifice themselves for others has to be justified by an outcome, not merely assumed as normal.
The mongers of war are out in force
Supporting the oppressed? Why, yes, of course!
Like gambling addicts who back only one horse
They expect us to choose a side
The merchants of arms make no such distinction
They’d even profit from a crucifixion
For them, success would be mutual extinction
But where does true blame reside?
And, if war is a solution, why does it not cease?
Why do we not now all live in peace?
Why does the desire for war increase
When they expect a delusional “win”?
After thousands of wars and millions of dead
There are still so many just struggling for bread
So-called heroes instructed to banish their dread
And pretend killing’s no longer a sin.
The enemy is so often obscurely defined
As are the concerns to which the other side’s blind
So much out of sight, so far out of mind
Man’s ignorance leads to aggression.
So, let they who shout loudest to fight go first
Let them feel, and smell, the hell of shell-burst
Let them live in the trenches, with the best and the worst
While we observe the results of their obsession!
All conflicts must end in negotiation
There is no good purpose to procrastination
Oh, please, grant belligerents more imagination!
Or just consult the soldiers’ wives
They’d tell our leaders to sit `round a table
To discuss the unpalatable with the willing and able
A show of good faith is no pacifist’s fable
Let the warmongers lose their lives.