“The main beneficiaries of conflict seem to be ambitious politicians and defence industries. Amidst the patriotic fervour we forget about the damaged individuals and ruined lives that war produces,” writes CLIVE WILLIAMS
SOMETIMES a nation has little option other than going to war, but that hasn’t been the case for Australia since World War II.
The main beneficiaries of conflict seem to be ambitious politicians and defence industries.
Amidst the patriotic fervour we forget about the damaged individuals and ruined lives that war produces.
Anyway, what I thought I would share with you at the end of 2021 is a poem I found on a loose piece of paper in an old book I bought at Lifeline.
The poem was probably written during World War I. I haven’t been able to find out who wrote it, but it highlights the hypocrisy of war and deserves wider recognition:
Our day of prayer!
The Almighty sniffed and said: “Jesus, my boy,
There’s a smell rising out of the west;
Do you see that blue vapour surrounding the earth?
I thought it was their day of rest.
They’re trying to signal. They’re turning out smoke;
They’re sending a message across.
Tune in the receiver, let’s hear what they say –
These birds that nailed You to the Cross.”
So Jesus turned on his latest short wave
And nearly had fourteen blue fits.
He said: “That’s no static, it’s bombs and big guns,
They’re blowing each other to bits.
But hold on, they’re praying. They’re down on their knees –
The ones that are not making guns –
They reckon they want You to give them a hand,
They’re fighting a mob called the Huns.
The Huns, too, are praying. They’re telling the world
That God is there, leading them on;
And both sides are making the sign of the Cross;
Their parsons have uniforms on.
They say, if You help them to slaughter their foes,
And keep all the land that they’ve won,
They’ll go to their churches at least once a week,
And cut out a bit of their fun.
And there’s an archbishop in vestments and lace,
Between prayers he’s doing his sums;
He’s got to keep up his magnificent church
On profits and rents from the slums.
And, oh! Here’s a beauty. He says he’s the Pope,
With a three-storied crown on his head.
He lives in a Palace. He says he is God.
And collects a few bob from the dead.
They’re sinking their ships. They’re shooting their boys.
They’re bombing their babies as well.”
“Hold on,” said Almighty, “You’d better make sure
You’re tuned into Earth and not Hell.”
“Oh, yes, it’s the Earth. I would know it again
By the pomp and the cant of the Church.
They march and parade with the strong and the rich
And leave all the poor in the lurch.
Tis two thousand years since I told them the Truth,
To value man more than their lands.
To love one another, to give to the poor –
Just look at the marks on My hands.”
Then God said: “Switch off, Son, You’re making me cry,
They’ve learnt nought from You it appears;
Just leave them to fight we’ll wait and tune in
Again after two thousand years.”
Let’s hope that 2022 does not see Australia dragged into a conflict over Taiwan.
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