Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MAKING CANNON IN BETHLEHEM, by VINCENT GODFREY BURNS

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MAKING CANNON IN BETHLEHEM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It was long ago in bethlehem town
Last Line: The great word is love, the right plan is peace!
Subject(s): Arms & Armor; Bethlehem, Palestine; Jesus Christ; Peace; Social Protest; Violence; War; Weapons; Ammunition

It was long ago in Bethlehem town,
Where a holy child in a manger lay,
That an angel choir came winging down
To be heard by the shepherds (so they say),
Singing sweet anthems of joy and release,
Of good-will to men and eternal peace.

And the child grew up to a princely man;
With the strange, keen wisdom of the poet-soul
He hated the greed of the autocrat's plan,
And championed the cause of a world made whole.
He saw with a vision of matchless scope
The new earth beaming in the Age of Hope.

But the years that have gone since then and now
Have been filled with clamor and pain and strife;
And men still choose the sword for the plow,
Prize place and power more than brother's life.
O the years between have been bloody indeed,
Since we turned our backs on his light and creed.

And now in the land where new hope should dwell,
With science and art and culture untold,
Where heaven might rise men again build hell
With the ancient, feverish fight for gold.
So Bethlehem town in the U. S. A.
Is a town where men make great guns to slay.

In dingy shacks on the side of a hill,
Where green grass is stranger and soot is friend,
New Christs are born for the work of the mill;
Where the gruelling labor that knows no end
Gives birth to the steel for the cannon's strife
In the Bethlehem of the new world's life.

On the hill of our years the old Cross is seen,
Still Christ is a broken and bleeding thing;
To fatten his purse or vent his spleen
Man stops not at killing, or anything.
What in the world can be holy to them
Who would name such a hell-hole Bethlehem?

When will the wisdom of the Child be heard,
The healing voice of the Son of Man,
Teaching the peoples with the great one Word,
Building the future with the one right Plan?
Hear, O ye nations! Let your murder cease:
The great Word is Love, the right Plan is Peace!

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