Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

GHOSTS WALK UPON THEIR GRAVES, by                    
First Line: No longer does the war god beat
Last Line: Ghosts sit upon their graves and wait.
Subject(s): China; Ethiopia; Hitler, Adolf (1889-1945); Mussolini, Benito (1883-1945); War

No longer does the War God beat
Upon the ancient drum.
But with torn treaties in his hand
He steps across the borders of a land
To wage undeclared war.
And in the grave-yards of the world,
Ghosts walk upon their graves.

Ethiopia, dark country where flows the ancient Nile
Your dripping months of rain
Could not halt the march of modern war.
In overhanging clouds
Where droned a winged fleet,
A Dictator's son looked down to smile
While your soul was torn in grief.
But how can any man control
The dark secrets of your soul?
In the grave-yards of the world,
Ghosts beat tomtoms on their graves.

Spain, country of sleepy dreams,
Your streets are filled
With the dying and the slain
And blackened ruins pierce the sky.
... You have become the pawn of Greed.
But on your hills still float
Bright castles in the air,
For no man has the power
To break the gossamer threads of dreams.
In the grave-yards of the world,
Ghosts of poets sit and weep.

Vienna, city of music and romance,
A Dictator stepped across the borders of your land,
To pause beside his mother's grave
Then marched with triumph in your streets
To deprive you of the right to think and pray,
But no man can ever rob you
Of the lovely rhythm of your dance.
In the grave-yards of the world,
Ghosts wear torn flags for shrouds.

Nan-Kin, where Li Po wrote centuries ago:
"Here Kings of Wu were crowned and overthrown
Where peaceful grass along the ruins wins;
Here -- was it yesterday? -- the Royal Twins
Called down the dreams of sunset into stone."

Nan-Kin, now your blue hills have watched
An alien army march through your ancient shrines,
But when the last echoes have died away,
Again you'll build your ancient wall of Thought
Around old gardens where men will sit and dream;
In the grave-yards of the world,
Ghosts sit upon their graves and wait.

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net