Belgium, August 1914

By George Sterling

O Earth! O star of sorrow! at thy breast
    What vampires have had sustenance of thee!
    From thy dark womb what furies have gone free
And in thy shadowy lap what dragons nest!
O beautiful as thou art all unblest!
    From thee so fair shall births so monstrous be,
    And in thy smile must man forever see
A hidden hatred, endless and suppressed?

How harmless are thy serpents, matched with man!
    How gentle are the wars of fen or wave,
Beside this other that thy children plan!
        Across the dykes of mercy sweeps the flood;
    Butcher and beast, the hordes of Odin rave,
        Whom War hath blinded with the dust of blood!

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