War is Kind
Stephen Crane
Verse
0:21 h
Level 8
War is Kind is an 1899 poem by Stephen Crane about the real face of war, and death and pain it brings to everyone in and off the battlefield.

War Is Kind

by
Stephen Crane


Maiden with sword, arrows, and doves

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory files above them,
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom — ;
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of the slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

What says the sea, little shell?
“What says the sea?
“Long has our brother been silent to us,
“Kept his message for the ships,
“Awkward ships, stupid ships.”

“The sea bids you mourn, O Pines,
“Sing low in the moonlight.
“He sends tale of the land of doom,
“Of place where endless falls
“A rain of women’s tears,
“And men in grey robes —
“Men in grey robes —
“Chant the unknown pain.”

Sea and wind

Tall vase

“What says the sea, little shell?
“What says the sea?
“Long has our brother been silent to us,
“Kept is message for the ships,
“Puny ships, silly ships.”

“The sea bids you teach, O Pines,
“Sing low in the moonlight;
“Teach the gold of patience,
“Cry gospel of gentle hands,
“Cry a brotherhood of hearts.
“The sea bids you teach, O Pines.”

“And where is the reward, little shell?
“What says the sea?
“Long has our brother been silent to us,
“Kept his message for the ships,
“Puny ships, silly ships.”

Birds

“No word says the sea, O Pines,
“No word says the sea.
“Long will your brother be silent to you,
“Keep his message for the ships,
“O puny ships, silly pines.”

To the maiden
The sea was blue meadow,
Alive with little froth-people
Singing.

To the sailor, wrecked,
The sea was dead grey walls
Superlative in vacancy,
Upon which nevertheless at fateful time
Was written
The grim hatred of nature.