First World War Poetry Digital Archive

Peace

PEACE by ROBERT GRAVES

When that glad day shall break to match 'Before-the-War' with 'Since-the-Peace', And up I climb to twist new thatch Across my cottage roof, while geese Stand stiffly there below and vex The yard with hissing from long necks, In that immense release, That shining day, shall we hear said: 'New wars to-morrow, more men dead'?

When peace time comes and horror's over, Despair and darkness like a dream, When fields are ripe with corn and clover, The cool white dairy full of cream, Shall we work happily in the sun, And think 'It's over now and done', Or suddenly shall we seem To watch a second bristling shadow Of armed men move across the meadow?

Will it be over once for all, With no more killed and no more maimed; Shall we be safe from terror's thrall, The eagle caged, the lion tamed; Or will the young of that vile brood, The young ones also, suck up blood Unconquered, unashamed, Rising again with lust and thirst? Better we all had died at first, Better that killed before our prime We rotted deep in earthy slime.

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