War More Than Anything

The Poem Politic X: A Note for Future Historians

When writing of us, state
as your first premise
You will never understand us
otherwise, say that we

cherished war

over peace and comfort
over feeding the poor
over our own health
over love, even the act of it
over religion, all of them, except
perhaps certain forms of Buddhism

that we never failed to pass bills of war
through our legislatures, using the pressures
of imminent invasion or disaster (potential)
abroad as absolution for not spending moneys
on projects which might make us happy or even
save us from clear and evident crises at home

Write of us that we spent millions educating
the best of our youth and then slaughtered them
capturing some hill or swamp of no value and
bragged for several months about how well they died
following orders that were admittedly stupid, ill-conceived

Explain how the military virtues, best practiced
by robots, are most valued by us. You will never come
to understand us unless you realize, from the first,
that we love killing and kill our own youth, our own great
men FIRST. Enemies can be forgiven, their broken bodies
mourned over, but our own are rarely spoken of except
in political speeches when we “honor” the dead and encourage
the living young to follow their example and be gloriously
dead also

NOTE: Almost all religious training, in all our countries,
dedicates itself to preparing the people for war.
Catholic chaplains rage against “peaceniks,” forgetting
Christ’s title in the Church is Prince of Peace;
Baptists shout of the ungodly and the necessity of
ritual holy wars while preaching of the Ten Commandments
each Sunday; Mohammedans, Shintoists look forward
to days of bloody retribution while Jews march
across the sands of Palestine deserts, Rabbis
urging them on….


Will expose our children, our homes to murder and
devastation on the chance that we can murder or devastate
FIRST and thus gain honor. No scientist is respected whose
inventions help mankind, for its own sake, but only when
those discoveries help to destroy, or to heal people,
that they may help destroy other men and living things

Be aware that
Destiny has caught us up, our choices made
subtly over the ages have spun a web about us:
It is unlikely we will escape, having geared
everything in our societies toward war and combat.
It is probably too late for us to survive
in anything like our present form.


If you build us monuments let them all
say that, as warning, as a poison label
on a bottle, that you may not ever
repeat our follies, feel our grief.

Keith Wilson, 1972

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