Home  »  A Treasury of War Poetry  »  The Kaiser and God

George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953). A Treasury of War Poetry. 1917.

Barry Pain

The Kaiser and God

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.