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The Illusion of War

From the Omaha Daily Bee, April 3, 1915. By Richard Le Gallienne.

I abhor.
And yet, how sweet
The sound along the marching street
Of drum and fife, and I forget
Wet eyes of widows, and forget
Broken old mothers, and the whole
Dark butchery without a soul.

Without a soul, save this bright drink
Of heady music, sweet as hell;
And even my peace-abiding feet
Go marching with the marching street,
For yonder, yonder comes the fife,
And what care I for human life?

And tears fill my astonished eyes,
And my full heart is like to break;
And yet, ’tis all embannered lies,
A dream those little drummers make.
Oh, it is wickedness to clothe
Yon hideous grinning thing that stalks,
Hidden in music like a queen,
That in a garden of glory walks
Till good men love the thing they loathe.
Art, thou hast many infamies,
But not an infamy like this.
Oh, stop the fife and still the drum,
And show the monster as she is.

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