War raged around this troubled world,
When I was but a lad,
And into battle men were hurled,
As some ambition mad
Moved kings on their unstable thrones
To bring the world unease.
Mad days, I'll grant (said old George Jones),
But not as mad as these.

They fought for power, fought for gain,
For land and plunder then;
They fought for ends that they made plain
And understood of men.
But in this strangely restless age,
And this world's changing scene,
Men fight and die while nations rage,
For visions half unseen.

They fight for theories untried,
Ideals, untested creeds,
And seek their ends thro' fratricide,
While hate's rank passion breeds.
On this red soil . . . Must I, a man
Unlettered, pierce the mist,
And bind myself so to some strange plan
Fascist or Socialist?

I am a man. It is enough.
I ply a peaceful trade.
What should I know of this queer stuff
Of which their dreams are made?
Small is the wisdom mankind owns,
But, as his knowledge grows,
It seems to me (said old George Jones),
His hard-won wisdom goes.

More verses by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis