WORDS of LIFE: A Christian resource of Art, Literature, Scripture, and Teaching
The Peacemaker
by Joyce Kilmer (1888-1918)

Upon his will he binds a radiant chain, 
    For Freedom's sake he is no longer free, 
    It is his task, the slave of Liberty, 
With his own blood to wipe away a stain. 
That pain may cease, he yields his flesh to pain. 
    To banish war, he must a warrior be, 
    He dwells in Night, eternal Dawn to see, 
And gladly dies, abundant life to gain. 

What matters Death, if Freedom be not dead? 
    No flags are furled, if Freedom's flag be furled. 
Who fights for Freedom, goes with joyful tread 
    To meet the fires of Hell against him hurled, 
And has for captain Him whose torn-wreathed head 
    Smiles from the Cross upon a conquered world. 

Christ on the Cross, by El Greco, 1585-90

Go to other poems by Kilmer | Trees | A Soldier's Prayer in France |

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(c) 2001 Don Schwager