by: Barry Pain (1867-1928)

      [“I rejoice with you in Wilhelm’s first victory. How magnificently God supported him!”—Telegram from the Kaiser to the Crown Princess.]

      ED by Wilhelm, as you tell,
      God has done extremely well;
      You with patronizing nod
      Show that you approve of God.
      Kaiser, face a question new--
      This--does God approve of you?
      Broken pledges, treaties torn,
      Your first page of war adorn;
      We on fouler things must look
      Who read further in that book,
      Where you did in time of war
      All that you in peace forswore,
      Where you, barbarously wise,
      Bade your soldiers terrorize,
      Where you made--the deed was fine--
      Women screen your firing line.
      Villages burned down to dust,
      Torture, murder, bestial lust,
      Filth too foul for printer’s ink,
      Crime from which the apes would shrink--
      Strange the offerings that you press
      On the God of Righteousness!
      Kaiser, when you’d decorate
      Sons or friends who serve your State,
      Not that Iron Cross bestow,
      But a cross of wood, and so--
      So remind the world that you
      Have made Calvary anew.
      Kaiser, when you’d kneel in prayer
      Look upon your hands, and there
      Let that deep and awful stain
      From the blood of children slain
      Burn your very soul with shame,
      Till you dare not breathe that Name
      That now you glibly advertise--
      God as one of your allies.
      Impious braggart, you forget;
      God is not your conscript yet;
      You shall learn in dumb amaze
      That His ways are not your ways,
      That the mire through which you trod
      Is not the high white road of God.

      To Whom, whichever way the combat rolls,
      We, fighting to the end, commend our souls.

"The Kaiser and God" is reprinted from A Treasury of War Poetry. Ed. George Herbert Clarke. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1917.




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