Clarence Michael James Dennis

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World war had come - and gone. It seemed the end.
Spent, broken, by the last despair oppressed,
Unfitted to attack or yet defend,
The nations' panting remnants skulked to rest -
A listless, brutish rest, where no hope gleamed,
Where earth's last glory had been thrown away
With all the splendid dreams man ever dreamed;
And his proud world a stricken shambles lay.

Grief only stayed. Great cities in the dust
Littered the path of ruin absolute,
Where sapient man, in that last mad bloodlust;
Surrendered all his birthright to the Brute;
And now the Brute triumphant claimed an earth
Where love or life or death mattered no more;
And faith and friendship, every shred of worth,
Dishonored utterly, were trampled o'er.

With a field where, lately, countless dead
Had lain till deeper, kindlier rest they found,
I saw a man who walked with bended head
And eyes that ever searched the shell-torn ground.
Times would he pause and, lifting up anon
Some metal fragment, weigh it in his hand,
Cast it aside, and wearily pass on,
Searching and ever searching that red land.

"Strange man," I said, "what are you seeking here
Where tortured soil grins upward to the skies?
Mayhap some relic of a comrade dear?"
He raised his head. And I beheld his eyes -
Indomitable eyes! ... "What search you for?"
I urged again, "where futile heroes died
And hope lies buried deep for evermore?" ...
"For steel, to shape a ploughshare," he replied.

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