Reason will not decide at last; the sword will decide. The sword: an obsolete instrument of bronze or steel, formerly used to kill men, but here In the sense of a symbol. The sword: that is: the storms and counter-storms of general destruction; killing of men, Destruction of all goods and materials; massacre, more or less intentional, of children and women; Destruction poured down from wings, the air made accomplice, the innocent air Perverted into assasin and poisoner.
The sword: that is: treachery and cowardice, incredible baseness, incredible courage, loyalties, insanities. The sword: weeping and despair, mass-enslavement, mass-tourture, frustration of all hopes That starred man's forhead. Tyranny for freedom, horror for happiness, famine for bread, carrion for children. Reason will not decide at last, the sword will decide.
Dear God, who are the whole splendor of things and the sacred stars, but also the cruelty and greed, the treacheries And vileness, insanities and filth and anguish: now that this thing comes near us again I am finding it hard To praise you with a whole heart. I know what pain is, but pain can shine. I know what death is, I have sometimes Longed for it. But cruelty and slavery and degredation, pestilence, filth, the pitifulness Of men like hurt little birds and animals . . . if you were only Waves beating rock, the wind and the iron-cored earth, With what a heart I could praise your beauty. You will not repent, nor cancel life, nor free man from anguish For many ages to come. You are the one that tortures himself to discover himself: I am One that watches you and discovers you, and praises you in little parables, idyl or tragedy, beautiful Intolerable God. The sword: that is: I have two sons whom I love. They are twins, they were born in nineteen sixteen, which seemed to us a dark year Of a great war, and they are now of the age That war prefers. The first-born is like his mother, he is so beautiful That persons I hardly know have stopped me on the street to speak of the grave beauty of the boy's face. The second-born has strength for his beauty; when he strips for swimming the hero shoulders and wrestler loins Make him seem clothed. The sword: that is: loathsome disfigurements, blindness, mutilation, locked lips of boys Too proud to scream. Reason will not decide at last: the sword will decide.