Four Antiwar Poems


Can 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.

Woe 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."

But 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 !

Blest are the peacemakers, children of our God.* Deplore the wielders of the sword: they must one day account.

Our Chief is seen in church, but does he grasp the core? It is the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew V, 9


Nocturnal 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.

The 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?

What 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?

In global warming and pollution we eclipse, in lies and wars to nuclear apocalypse.


No 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."

For 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.

Now, 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.

War 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).


For two hundred million years they roamed the planet, the great and lesser dinosaurs. One day they disappeared. Deservedly or not.

For 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. Deservedly.

Alfred de Zayas, Geneva

January 1, 2004