Ghazal:  America

by Alicia Ostriker

The prophet Isaiah tells us that some day people "will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." That was about twenty-five hundred years ago, and I'm still waiting. But the truth is, through most of history, poets and writers have celebrated the idea of the warrior. Celebrated war. Glorified war. Only since the World War I and a few poets like Wilfred Owen has it become possible for masses of people--including poets--to see war as ugly and stupid. So we are really just beginning, just taking the first step on the path to peace.

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