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NaPoWriMo — April 19

Today’s poem by Stephen Crane  is selected by Ed Scutt who did some research on the title:  in one anthology it is: Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War Is Kind;  In The Viking Portable Library it is simply- War Is Kind.  Ed provides this information:

                        Stephen Crane lived a short twenty-nine years.  Though he was born after the American Civil War he wrote perhaps the most gripping and famous stories set in that great tragedy, including THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE.  Some of the technology of war has changed, but not our species’ propensity to engage in it.  And it doesn’t get less barbaric with succeeding generations.  So this ironic poem I read from WAR IS KIND is as gripping and graphic as it was in the 60s when I first read it and in the 1890s when Crane wrote it and – unfortunately – as relevant today.

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind,

Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky

And the affrighted steed ran on alone,

Do not weep.

War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,

Little souls who thirst for fight,

These men were born to drill and die.

The unexplained glory flies above them.

Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom–

A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.

Because your father tumbles in the yellow trenches,

Raged at his breast, gulped and died,

Do not weep.

War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,

Eagle with crest of red and gold,

These men were born to drill and die.

Point for them the virtue of slaughter,

Make plain to them the excellence of killing

And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button

On the bright splendid shroud of your son,

Do not weep.

War is kind!


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