Why We Fight

By Edgar Albert Guest

This is the thing we fight:
A cry of terror in the night;
A ship on work of mercy bent-
A carrier of the sick and maimed-
Beneath the cruel waters sent,
And those that did it, unashamed.

A woman who had tried to fill
A mother’s place; had nursed the ill
And soothed the troubled brows of pain
And earned the dying’s grateful prayers,
Before a wall by soldiers slain!
And such a poor pretext was theirs!

Old women pierced by bayonets grim
And babies slaughtered for a whim,
Cathedrals made the sport of shells,
No mercy, even for a child,
As though the imps of all the hells
Were crazed with drink and running wild.

All this we fight-that some day when
Good sense shall come again to men,
Our children’s children may not read
This age’s history thus defamed
And find we served a selfish creed
And ever be of us ashamed!

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