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The Conquerors

Story ID:10685
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Poem
Location:The World All
Year:1960
Person:Phyllis McGinley
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With the world in such turmoil with many countries wanting the nuclear bomb, I am reminded of this poem that I have had in my memory since the early 1960ís.
Chuck Dishno

The Conquerors by Phyllis McGinley

It seems vainglorious and proud
Of Atom-man to boast aloud
His prowess homicidal
When one remembers how for years,
With their rude stones and humble spears,
Our sires, at wiping out their peers,
Were almost never idle.

Despite his under-fissioned art
The Hittite made a splendid start
Toward smiting lesser nations;
While Tamerlane, it's widely known,
Without a bomb to call his own
Destroyed whole populations.

Nor did the ancient Persian need
Uranium to kill his Mede,
The Viking earl, his foeman.
The Greeks got excellent results
With swords and engined catapults.
A chariot served the Roman.

Mere cannon garnered quite a yield
On Waterloo's tempestuous field.
At Hastings and at Flodden
Stout countrymen, with just a bow
And arrow, laid their thousands low.

And Gettysburg was sodden.
Though doubtless now our shrewd machines
Can blow the world to smithereens
More tidily and so on,
Let's give our ancestors their due.
Their ways were coarse, their weapons few.
But ah! how wondrously they slew
With what they had to go on.