Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, by WITTER BYNNER



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THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: And then I felt a fever in my veins
Last Line: Was that a whisper in the evening breeze?
Alternate Author Name(s): Morgan, Emanuel
Subject(s): Death; Social Protest; Unknown Soldier; War; Dead, The


And then I felt a fever in my veins
To be done with all these passions, all these pains.
I envied the Unknown Soldier. Let him lie
Solemn, anonymous. A man must die—
What difference whether mighty with no name
Or with a dated lettering of a puny fame?
Death is a simpler matter, anyway,
Than merely living on from day to day,
The blunders and the blaming and the blinking—
No wonder wars occur, instead of thinking!
Must we be fools and, when we organize,
Grow twice as sinister and half as wise?
When we enlist as soldiers of a State
Or race or creed or culture, anything great,
Why will we think as little as we can,
Instead of being friendly, man to man? ...
The hour the great memorial went by,
I saw a woman clasp a child and cry—
And then a touch of fever caught her breath,
To have her baby die as fine a death.

Are there any fruits to know us by but these?
Was that a whisper in the evening breeze?





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