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The Glory of War

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 09, 2011

Annie Malin is the author of our sacrament hymn “God, Our Father, Hear Us Pray,” and of at least two short stories posted here at Keepa.

The Glory of War

by Annie Malin

Oh, what is the glory of war, I ask,
And what the excuse, in defense?
Oh, how can we boast of a victory won
When the cost is the husband, the father, the son,
And what is the recompense?

Oh, war is cruel and war is wrong,
For hearts by each volley are cleft.
The strongest fall when the bullet sings,
And the agonized shriek of the fallen rings –
And what of the women bereft?

The cry of the fatherless rings on the air,
And to whom can they look for bread?
Mothers and babes cope alone with the world,
While shot and shell at their hearts are hurled,
And they weep for their maimed and dead.

Then what is the glory of war? I ask,
And what the excuse, in defense?
The roar of the cannon, the victor’s shout,
The noise of the conflict, of panic, of rout –
Oh, what is the recompense?

(1915)



8 Comments »

  1. This is perfect. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by jk — August 9, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  2. Certainly no glory in war, but talk to a communist refugee on its necessity.

    Comment by Ellen — August 9, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

  3. Fair enough.

    I think on Tuesdays and Thursdays when we don’t have an installment of a serial, I’ll start posting lesser-known Mormon poetry in the afternoon.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 9, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  4. A dramatic sentiment — reminds me of Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et decorum est.”

    Was this printed in a Church publication?

    Comment by David Y. — August 9, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

  5. Yes. (Now you want to know which one. Okay — Juvenile Instructor.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 9, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

  6. Thanks for anticipating my next question. {grin]

    Comment by David Y. — August 9, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  7. Theologically, the answer to the question is found in Alma 43:47.

    It’s nice to see a more rational view published to the offset the War Fever promoted by other Church leaders during the WW1 timeframe.

    Comment by The Other Clark — August 9, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  8. I think that’s a key idea, TOClark. There’s still a lot of glorification of war going on, although it masquerades behind glorifying of soldiers and their very genuine sacrifices, which makes it difficult to question war in general or a given war in particular without risking sounding like you’re denigrating soldiers — but I think it’s nothing to the glorying in war that appears throughout World War I.

    There are quite a few articles and poems and stories in the magazines at this era that at least semi-pacifist. That changes in 1916 after the U.S. entered the war. Immediately after the war, the calls for a permanent end to warfare pick up again.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 9, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

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