Stephen Spender, one of the 20th Century’s great English-language poets, wrote a poem about war called Ultima Ratio Regum, one of my favorite poems. The name is in Latin, and it means “The King’s Final Argument” or perhaps “The King’s Last Resort.” The Latin has a bit of both meanings, and it refers to the ultimate power of a sovereign state to impose its will: the use of military force.
I can’t reproduce the poem in its entirety, because it is under copyright. You can, however, find it in good poetry collections. But here is a fair-use smidgeon of it
The guns spell money’s ultimate reason
In letters of lead on the Spring hillside.
But the boy lying dead under the olive trees
Was too young and too silly
To have been notable to their important eye.
He was a better target for a kiss.
Because of my personal experiences, I usually spend a part of Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day in tears. Later on, I will write much more about war and peace, as well as politics. I’ll write about why I think the United States should withdraw its military from Afghanistan and Iraq. I won’t write much, if anything, about my personal experiences.
Here’s a link to the video of Eric Bogle’s rendition of the famous Australian folk song “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.” I challenge anyone to watch this video without shedding a tear for all the brave young people who have died in wars.