[“I rejoice with you in Wilhelm’s first victory. How magnificently God supported him!”—Telegram from the Kaiser to the Crown Princess.]
LED by Wilhelm, as you tell,
God has done extremely well;
You with patronizing nod
Show that you approve of God.
Kaiser, face a question new–
This–does God approve of you?
Broken pledges, treaties torn,
Your first page of war adorn;
We on fouler things must look
Who read further in that book,
Where you did in time of war
All that you in peace forswore,
Where you, barbarously wise,
Bade your soldiers terrorize,
Where you made–the deed was fine–
Women screen your firing line.
Villages burned down to dust,
Torture, murder, bestial lust,
Filth too foul for printer’s ink,
Crime from which the apes would shrink–
Strange the offerings that you press
On the God of Righteousness!
Kaiser, when you’d decorate
Sons or friends who serve your State,
Not that Iron Cross bestow,
But a cross of wood, and so–
So remind the world that you
Have made Calvary anew.
Kaiser, when you’d kneel in prayer
Look upon your hands, and there
Let that deep and awful stain
From the blood of children slain
Burn your very soul with shame,
Till you dare not breathe that Name
That now you glibly advertise–
God as one of your allies.
Impious braggart, you forget;
God is not your conscript yet;
You shall learn in dumb amaze
That His ways are not your ways,
That the mire through which you trod
Is not the high white road of God.
To Whom, whichever way the combat rolls,
We, fighting to the end, commend our souls.
by: Barry Pain (1867-1928)
«The Kaiser and God» is reprinted from A Treasury of War Poetry. Ed. George Herbert Clarke. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1917.