Men, Women and Ghosts by Amy Lowell
A Ballad of Footmen
Now what in the name of the sun and the stars
Do men find life so full of humour and joy
Fifteen millions of soldiers with popguns and horses
Are not quite the same. All these men by the ears,
It is folly to think that the will of a king
They value, and life is, at least one supposes,
Have not grown up between one foot and the other.
Such quite elementary feelings, and tag
His legs and his arms at the word of command
Fit only for mince-meat, if a little gold lace
Bullets, and bayonets, and death, and diseases,
If each man were to lay down his weapon, and say,
Now what, may I ask, could the Emperor do?
Angry? Oh, of course, a most furious Emperor!
The dire results which could not be inflicted.
Is just the weak wind from an old, broken bellows.
To be killing each other, unmercifully,
Or is it that tasting the blood on their jaws
So patiently builded, are nothing to drinking
I don't suppose tigers do, fighting cocks, sparrows,
Are running with blood they have gulped; it is plain
Toll the bells in the steeples left standing. Half-mast
Take the dust of the streets and sprinkle your head,
Squeeze into this archway, the head of the line