What are they feeling, the poets and singers,

Song writers and dreamers who met on the way,

Rose up in the ‘60s for justice and peace,

As they look at the headlines today?

How long ago did I hear Joan Baez,

Peter, Paul, Mary and so many others,

Singing to tell us “We Shall Overcome”

And live on this earth as sisters and brothers?

They were asking us questions I still ask today,

When will we learn to give peace a chance,

Has this been going on for ten thousand years,

As flowers have gone in war’s circular dance?

Now Mary sings, “Carry on Sweet Survivor”,

And disillusion tightens and fills up my chest.

What did we go to Vietnam for -

A shiny dark wall with names of the best?

Berlin’s wall is now down, as Humpty, in pieces,

Threatening USSR no longer exists.

One holocaust over, how many to come

In this world set on war and clenching its’ fists?

As day follows night, war follows war,

Each one just, under God, each side certain it’s right.

All the while we keep singing, “God Mend Every Flaw”,

No flaws here, as bombing gives proof through the night.

Who started it this time? Not us to be sure,

Though it matters not much once the battle’s begun.

Kids fighting at recess in schoolyards will tell you,

What counts in the end is always, “Who won?”

We see our sons, sitting ducks, on a far away pond.

Muslims see innocents killed to set them all free.

Is this really where we hoped we would be

At the start of this bright and new century?

Here at home, doves and hawks are at each others throats.

Watch the birds battle beneath spacious skies.

Let us each show respect and join our hands here,

As terrorists thrive and then multiply.

How can good men and women, all faiths and all races,

Endure terrorist threats here at home, in far places?

They’re working their evil, as on 9/11,

As we bow down our heads, asking questions of heaven.

We need you, again, old singers, new dreamers,

As we need brave soldiers to face evil down.

We need also a Ghandi, a Martin L. King,

And hearts set to avoid starting off a new round.


Virginia Atkinson


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