Defense Media Network

A Poem for Memorial Day


It has been a kind of tradition at Defense Media Network to publish a war poem to mark holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Instead of publishing a news article about the latest piece of technology or operation, something we happily do approximately 363 days of the year, we thought we would publish something that instead encourages quiet contemplation of the meaning of Memorial Day. We hope that in between the cookouts and war movie marathons, some time is made to reflect on the sacrifices of those who died while serving in the U.S. military. To that end, we present Stephen Crane’s poem: War is Kind. Part of Crane’s second collection of poetry, War is Kind and Other Lines, it was published in 1899, less than a year before his death.


War is Kind

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind,
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them.
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom–
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbles in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind!


Steven Hoarn is the Editor/Photo Editor for Defense Media Network. He is a graduate of...