(January 17, 1914 – August 28, 1993 / Kansas)

Objector

In line at lunch I cross my fork and spoon
to ward off complicity--the ordered life
our leaders have offered us. Thin as a knife,
our chance to live depends on such a sign
while others talk and The Pentagon from the moon
is bouncing exact commands: "Forget your faith;
be ready for whatever it takes to win: we face
annihilation unless all citizens get in line."

I bow and cross my fork and spoon: somewhere
other citizens more fearfully bow
in a place terrorized by their kind of oppressive state.
Our signs both mean, "You hostages over there
will never be slaughtered by my act." Our vows
cross: never to kill and call it fate.

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Comments (2)

This is a very effective anti-war, anti-warmonger-leaders poem. I agree with the subtext of pacifism. I think Stafford is courageous and outspoken.
lovely poem. to hell a sign on the wall of austwitz