Four Antiwar Poems
by Alfred de Zayas
by Alfred de Zayas
you tell me who is good and who is bad?
The ancient "we and they" divides us artificially.
Yet for the children of New York and Baghdad
only one equation counts: their shared humanity.
upon the men who have unleashed a war
through propaganda lies, in breach of every law!
Alas, the many nations that such crimes abhor
have failed to stop the programmed "Shock and Awe."
silence now would make us guilty too.
Protest we must: Condemn colonial wars!
Who are the victims, who the victimizers? Who?
Ourselves, our leaders! To the White House: Mirrors !
are the peacemakers, children of our God.* Deplore
the wielders of the sword: they must one day account.
Chief is seen in church, but does he grasp the core?
It is the Sermon on the Mount.
darkness overcomes receding Earth,
enveloping the silent hemisphere in black.
The velvet air of night a perfumed mist brings back,
while starry skies glow softly on renewing birth.
warming sun has sunk beneath the West at sea
But what if break of day repeat itself no more?
What if that pristine fount of light ne’er reach the shore
of day to brighten our universality?
if that vast black blanket change into a pall,
a still and suffocating garment, drowning out
forever and anon the world’s exultant shout
of joy for its mere drawing breath at all?
global warming and pollution we eclipse,
in lies and wars to nuclear apocalypse.
Alfred de Zayas
need for gladiators, chariot races,
for we watch much better shows:
"Afghanistan in flames"
or how to stomp the Taliban,
then follows "Bombs over Baghdad."
CNN and Fox can always entertain us :
’twas the Showdown with bin Laden
’twas the Showdown with Saddam,
with our smart bombs and explosions
compliments of Uncle Sam.
who should care about the damage,
whether willed or just collateral,
when our science is aesthetic
and we test such clever weapons?
Let’s be patriotic, not pathetic
Pathos is for adolescents.
should always be primetime,
with few or no commercials.
Yes, we love our panem et circenses :
our up-dated "lions versus Muslims" show!
Bread and circus games (Juvenal, Satires, X, 81).
two hundred million years
they roamed the planet,
the great and lesser dinosaurs.
One day they disappeared.
Deservedly or not.
scarcely a million years
we hominids have been pretending
to be the rulers of the earth.
Our love of war and habits of pollution
may yet accelerate our disappearance.
Alfred de Zayas, Geneva
et phil. Alfred de Zayas [send
him mail] is Visiting Professor of International Law at the
University of British Columbia. He is Former Secretary, United Nations
Human Rights Committee and Former Chief of Petitions at the Office
of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.