The Next War, by Osbert Sitwell
The long war had ended.
Its miseries had grown faded.
Deaf men become difficult to talk to.
Heroes become bores.
Who had converted blood into gold,
Had grown elderly.
But they had a meeting,
'We think perhaps we ought
To put up tombs
Or erect altars
To those brave lads
Who were so willingly burnt,
Who lost all likeness to a living thing,
Or were blown to bleeding patches of flesh
For our sakes.
It would look well.
Or we might even educate the children.'
But the richest of these wizards
And he said,
'I have always been to the front
- In private enterprise -
I yield in public spirit
To no man.
I think yours is a very good idea
- A capital idea -
And not too costly.
But it seems to me
That the cause for which we fought
Is again endangered.
What more fitting memorial for the fallen
Than that their children
Should fall for the same cause?'
Rushing eagerly into the street,
The kindly old gentleman crie
To the young:
'Will you sacrifice
Through your lethargy
What your fathers died to gain?
Our cause is in peril.
The world must be made safe for the young!'
And the children
(There's a lovely comic book adaptation of this poem here)