The Butcher At Prayer

By Don Marquis

Each nation as it draws the sword
And flings its standard to the air
Petitions piously the Lord-
Vexing the void abyss with prayer.

O irony too deep for mirth!
O posturing apes that rant, and dare
This antic attitude! O Earth,
With your wild jest of wicked prayer!

I dare not laugh . . . a rising swell
Of laughter breaks in shrieks somewhere-
No doubt they relish it in Hell,
This cosmic jest of Earth at prayer!

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