America and the World War

By Theodore Roosevelt | Go to book overview

PRAYER FOR PEACE

Now these were visions in the night of war:

I prayed for peace; God, answering my prayer,
Sent down a grievous plague on humankind,
A black and tumorous plague that softly slew
Till nations and their armies were no more --
And there was perfect peace . . .
But I awoke, wroth with high God and prayer.

I prayed for peace; God, answering my prayer,
Decreed the Truce of Life: -- Wings in the sky Fluttered and fell; the quick, bright ocean things
Sank to the ooze; the footprints in the woods
Vanished; the freed brute from the abattoir
Starved on green pastures; and within the blood
The death-work at the root of living ceased;
And men gnawed clods and stones, blasphemed and died --
And there was perfect peace . . .
But I awoke, wroth with high God and prayer.

I prayed for peace; God, answering my prayer,
Bowed the free neck beneath a yoke of steel,
Dumbed the free voice that springs in lyric speech,
Killed the free art that glows on all mankind,
And made one iron nation lord of earth,
Which in the monstrous matrix of its will
Moulded a spawn of slaves. There was One Might --
And there was perfect peace . . .
But I awoke, wroth with high God and prayer.

I prayed for peace; God, answering my prayer.
Palsied all flesh with bitter fear of death.

-v-

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