"They were going to look at war, the red animal – war, the blood-swollen god."

War is Kind

In Literature, poetry, Stephen Crane on March 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Stephen Crane once wrote, “I understand a man is born into the world with his own pair of eyes and he is not at all responsible for his vision – he is merely responsible for his quality of personal honesty. To keep close to this personal honesty is my supreme ambition.”

Known for his war novel, The Red Badge of Courage, and his extraordinary short stories, Crane also wrote poems. In 1899, he published War is Kind and Other Lines, his second book of poetry.  He died of tuberculosis in 1900 at the age of 27, following a short life packed with adventure and hard work.

War is Kind by Stephen Crane, 1899. (Click photo to go to website.)

War is Kind

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them,
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches
Raged at his breast, gulped and died.
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

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  1. Think of you often and trust the writing is going well! Won’t be long now.

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