by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent
In the spirit of the season, the Oregon Statesman published this poem by Mrs F. T. Porter, of Salem:
Can we forget the cannon’s roar,
And those deep, gushing wounds that pour
Dark rivers, staining, far and wide
The shuddering earth and ocean tide?
Can we a space the conflict still,
And list the angel’s “Peace, good will”?
Can we forget the war god’s heel,
And by the manger cradle kneel?
No more the angel chorus sweet
The heavenly tiding glad repeat;
No wise men journeying from afar
Are guided by that heavenly star.
No frankincense, no myrrh, no gold,
The Christ Child’s outstretched hands no hold;
No joyous mother’s smile and song
The angel’s chorus sweet prolong.
But cloud and darkness fill the sky,
And black winged birds of death swift fly
To loose the thunder bolts of wrath,
A horrid rain upon their path.
And starving wives and children weep
Amid their hearthstone’s blackened heap,
While on “The far flung battle line”
Stalks death from forest, swamp and mine.
Ah! is it true there is not room,
Not room to live, but for a tomb?
Has earth not room, nor clothes, nor bread
To Keep her children warmed and fed?
Was earth but meant to hear our moans,
To drink our blood and hide our bones?
Were men but born for hate and strife?
Then demons, never God, gave life.
Nay! The eternal God’s voice still says peace.
The eternal king bids warfare cease;
Earth’s petty kings rule but a day –
They, too, shall pass, they, too, decay.
God’s voice says sternly “Ye have room,
Go make the swamp and desert bloom,
Redeem the jungle and the wild;
Go slay the beast and far the chid.”
’Twas not in vain God gave his son;
His will of Peace will yet be done,
And though she bows in sackcloth now,
And mourns with ashes on her brow,
The angel son that gave her birth
Is still resounding though the earth;
And though earth’s millions bleed and die,
Heaven’s “Peace, Good Will” is drawing nigh.