Joy Davidman

"Near Catalonia"

We have the sweet noise of the sea at our back
and before us the bitter shouting of the gun;
and the brass wing of aeroplanes and the sun
that walks about us burning. Here we wound
our feet on metal fragments of the bomb,
the sword unburied and the poisoned ground.
Here we stand; here we lie; here we must see
what we can find potent and good to set
between the Fascist and the deep blue sea.

If we had bricks that could make a wall we would use them,
but bricks will break under a cannonball;
if we had iron we would make a wall,
but iron rings and splinters at the bomb
and wings go across the sky and over a wall,
and if we made a barrier with our earth
they would murder the earth with Fascist poison,
and no one will give us iron for the wall.
We have only the bodies of men to put together,
the wincing flesh, the peeled white forking stick,
easily broken, easily made sick,
frightened of pain and spoiled by evil weather;
we have only the most brittle of all things the man
and the heart the most iron admirable thing of all,
and putting these together will make a wall.

  • Meridel LeSueur on belief as action (1935)


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    Last modified: Wednesday, 18-Jul-2007 16:27:49 EDT