Works in the Herald 1934
War raged around this troubled world,
   When I was but a lad,
And into battle men were hurled,
   As some ambition mad
Moved kings on their unstable thrones
   To bring the world unease.
Mad days, I'll grant (said old George Jones),
   But not as mad as these.

They fought for power, fought for gain,
   For land and plunder then;
They fought for ends that they made plain
   And understood of men.
But in this strangely restless age,
   And this world's changing scene,
Men fight and die while nations rage,
   For visions half unseen.

They fight for theories untried,
   Ideals, untested creeds,
And seek their ends thro' fratricide,
   While hate's rank passion breeds.
On this red soil . . . Must I, a man
   Unlettered, pierce the mist,
And bind myself so to some strange plan --
   Fascist or Socialist?

I am a man.  It is enough.
   I ply a peaceful trade.
What should I know of this queer stuff
   Of which their dreams are made?
Small is the wisdom mankind owns,
   But, as his knowledge grows,
It seems to me (said old George Jones),
   His hard-won wisdom goes.

Herald, 15 February 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002-06