I have recently titled this one “The Peace Prayer” which is a reference to Samuel Clemens’ (Mark Twain) “The War Prayer”
These two are none too opposite, in that they both reflect something quite true, and point out, among other things, unintended consequences; Mr Clemens work, the untended consequences of war and praying for victory in war; and mine, the same for peace. This dichotomy underscores for me the nature of peace and how peace and freedom are related. Freedom, even here in the US, creeps away by inches. I think it must not matter the form of governance attempting to watch over it, except to say that the US has been remarkably resistant to this, particularly when one realises that we are much more a target for such sedition than perhaps any other civilised nation.
I have come to realise that there is only one price with which such freedom can be purchased back once it has crept away to a greater or lesser degree. That price is paid in blood. I believe our founders knew this and took amazing steps, given their circumstances, to preserve this hard won freedom for as long as possible.
She sang her hymn before her eyes had seen
The glory of the coming of the Lord;
The blood, and death, of mortar, gun, and sword;
And brother killing brother, long had been.
Then callow, sang of peace, with freedom won,
To eager faces, white, and brown… and black;
Whose liberty had just been handed back
Still soaked with blood by mortar, sword, and gun.
Imagine men had heard that hymn, four score
And seven years of blood and death before;
Heard next her callow, pacifists decree;
Laid down their arms to study war no more.
With shackled peace, from sea to shining sea,
What hue would, now, such eager faces be?
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