‘Hello, Soldier!’

The Unborn

Edward Dyson

I SEE grim War, a bestial thing,
    With swinish tusks to tear;
Upon his back the vampires cling,
    Thin vipers twine among his hair,
The tiger’s greed is in his jowl,
    His eye is red with bloody tears,
And every obscene beast and fowl
    From out his leprous visage leers.
In glowing pride fell fiends arise,
And, trampled, God the Father lies.

Not God alone the Demon slays;
    The hills that swell to Heaven drip
With ooze of murdered men; for days
    The dead drift with the drifting ship,
And far as eye may see the plain
    Is cumbered deep with slaughtered ones,
Contorted to the shape of pain,
    Dissolving ’neath the callous suns,
And driven in his foetid breath
Still ply the harvesters of Death.

He sits astride an engine dread,
    And at his touch the awful ball
Across the quaking world is sped,
    I see a million creatures fall.
Beyond the soldiers on the hill,
    The mother by her basinet.
The bolt its mission must fulfil,
    And in the years that are not yet
Creation by the blow is shorn
Of dimpled hosts of babes unborn!

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