Poem | William Cotter

Source: Freeimages

Call to Arms

“Your task,” they said,” is to civilize.
Make rough things smooth. Excuse the devious
And, if the cause be just, give half truths the guise
Of open handed fact, the ambiguous
A seeming transparence. The concocted make spontaneous.
Let your mellifluous chorus anaesthetise.
Make further questioning superfluous.
Your task,” they said,” is to civilize.

And it is just,” they said,” to chastise,
Bring to right thinking the credulous
And eliminate those who criticize.
Only the team must stand conspicuous
In the sun: those not for us are against us.
The righteous have no need to hesitate or agonize,
But always to remain sedulous.
Your task,” they said,” is to civilize.

Root out, neutralize
And destroy all those who oppose. Praise the virtuous
And those who obey. Drum roll the demise
Of the individual. To us a dissenting voice is perfidious.
Then, true to the cause, march on, anonymous
Heroes that you are.” So, we marched away, set to actualize
Our dream, rosy,  or stony-faced,  before the curious.
“Your task,” they said,” is to civilize.”

But, in our wake the ghosts rose, cadaverous.
Our tanks, our bombs, blotted out the sunrise
And, through broken windows, the helpless watched, incredulous.
“Your task,” they said, “is to civilize."

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