Winners and Losers

We’ve created a culture of antagonism and agitation, of winners and losers
Where words can cut deeper than spears and pierce our enemy’s armor
We refine and polish our arguments like swords to gut our opposition
Trained in a culture of savage warfare to transform opponents into enemies
One who was once a brother or sister now becomes something less than human
A demon in my eyes to be cast out and slain, their bodies and reputations annihilated
Rather than walking a mile in their shoes I doggedly pursue their retreat
Hunting them down in their refuge and taking captive their allies and families
Dividing the world into camps and erecting walls of dogmatic certainty
Turning plowshares into swords and pruning hooks into spears
We ignore the costs and the civilian casualties incurred in the onslaught
As we raise our standards and blow the bugle to assemble the amassed armies
There to fight a war that never needed to be waged if we could learn a different way
In a world of winners and losers there is no need for reconciliation and healing
History belongs to the victors and the losers are a part of the casualties of time
Or become the terrorists of tomorrow fighting a lost battle because it is all they know
But maybe there is another way where the conflict never evolves into combat
Where swords can be returned to the forge to become the instruments of harvest
Where the enemy becomes my brother and my opponent my sister
And I walk in their shoes and begin to see the world through their eyes
Where instead of tracking my enemy down in their home I welcome them into mine
My righteous indignation can be set aside at the mote in my neighbor’s eye
And there can be a future together in the dawning light of forgiveness
And the world gasps a sigh of relief that its forests are no longer consumed
Building walls and siege engines to fuel a conflict which never ends
And perhaps in our culture of agitation and antagonism we are all losers
Caught in perpetual cycles of conflict, continually training for the next fight
Unable to be at rest under our own vine feasting with our friends and companions
Perhaps in our string of victories we may ignore the tremors of our own trauma
We may justify our own unending nightmares of the past or the wounds we carry
For in a world of harsh justice where wound cried out for wound, scar for scar
And eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a heart for a heart, a life for a life
We all come out broken and hurting too tired to focus on the fields of harvest
Perhaps there is a time to end the pouring out of our neighbors and our own blood
As some sort of sick libation to the cruel gods of conflict we choose to serve
And it is a time to live, a time to be born, a time of peace
A time when brothers can live together in harmony if only we can learn another way
Let us Beat Swords Into Plowshares, a sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich, given by the Soviet Union to the United Nations in 1959

Let us Beat Swords Into Plowshares, a sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich, given by the Soviet Union to the United Nations in 1959

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