Two Sides of War (All Wars)

January 26, 2007 at 4:10 am 2 comments

Grantland Rice

Listen

All wars are planned by older men
In council rooms apart,
Who call for greater armament
And map the battle chart.

But out along the shattered field
Where golden dreams turn gray,
How very young the faces were
Where all the dead men lay.

Portly and solemn in their pride,
The elders cast their vote
For this or that, or something else,
That sounds the martial note.

But where their sightless eyes stare out
Beyond life’s vanished toys,
I’ve noticed nearly all the dead
Were hardly more than boys.

Is it always true that the old shall be scheming and cruel, and the young naive and innocent? And history (that would presumably be written by the old) is just a collection of facts and rumors that will help the old achieve what they want by warping the minds of the young?

Old men in council rooms, and young men with golden dreams, will always bring back images from Lawrence of Arabia with its epic beauty, stark contrasts and splendid screenplay. And this comment by Prince Feisal, which makes you doubt even peace, when negotiated by the old.

Young men make wars and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men: courage and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men: mistrust and caution.

– Prince Feisal, Lawrence of Arabia

Grantland Rice was better known for his sportswriting than for his poetry. But who says sports commentary can’t be poetry?

‘… the writer who dubbed the great backfield of the Notre Dame team of 1924 the “Four Horsemen” of Notre Dame, a Biblical reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in a famous account published in the New York Herald Tribune on October 18 that describes the Notre Dame vs. Army game played at the Polo Grounds:
“ Outlined against a blue-gray October sky the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below. ” ‘- wiki

[blackmamba]

Entry filed under: Black Mamba, English, Grantland Rice, War Poetry. Tags: .

Losses from Autobiography of My Alter Ego

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Revealed  |  January 31, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Really liked it. Sweeping generalisation and all.

    Reply
  • 2. Chris Michaud  |  January 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Great point of the poem but a very poor reading. Please rerecord using a pro reader with class!

    Reply

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