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A poem by Jared Barhite

Our Battlefield

Title:     Our Battlefield
Author: Jared Barhite [More Titles by Barhite]

[Written for an entertainment given by the Fife and Drum Corps (36 uniformed members) of the Third Ward Grammar School of Long Island City, of which the writer is Principal.]

There are fields of martial glory
Where the slain are ne'er bemoaned;
There are victories though silent,
Where grim monarchs are dethroned;
There are scenes of strife and foray
Where gigantic forces strive
For the mastery and triumph
Of the ends for which they live.

There are forces more puissant
Than ten million armed men,
There are banners that are emblems
Of the mighty tongue and pen,
That reflect upon their blazon
Honest purpose grand and true,
Such as never graced the victors
Of Sedan and Waterloo.

There are weapons in these contests
Keener than the Damask blade,
There are metals of such temper
As no crucible e'er made;
For the dross must be extracted
In the furnace of the soul
Till no refuse or pollution
Shall defile the perfect whole.

Though this army counts its millions,
Each must face alone the foe,
Each must bring a special weapon,
Each must strike himself the blow
That shall free him from the shackles
Of that despot and his train,
Who with ignorance and vices
Would destroy the heart and brain.

Our true sword is Education
And grim Ignorance our foe;
We are battling with our passions,
And our spirits are aglow
With a full determination
To accept the proven truth
That the days of precious seed-time,
Are the sunny days of youth.

Day by day the contest rages
And each task that's daily done,
Brings a soothing satisfaction
That another victory's won.
Thus the strength we gain in action
Aids in each succeeding strife,
To make the struggles lighter
In the battles of our life.

There are avenues and byways
Which lead into the heart,
Whose intricate environments
Require the highest art
To tell what inspiration
Shall touch a dormant mind,
And fire it with a living zeal
For a station more refined.

It is only voice of music
That speaks universal tongue;
It matters not in what accent
A sweet melody is sung,
It will find responsive feelings
Which will aptly understand
Though it be of unknown measure
And sung in a foreign land.

We come with our martial music,
With our noisy fife and drum
To inspire the weak and weary,
To open the mouths of the dumb,
To train our every emotion
For a better sphere in life,
To enjoy for the passing moment
The sound of the drum and fife.

We hope our notes may be peaceful
And free from carnage of war;
We would bind up the broken hearted
And cover the wound and scar,
But should foe our country menace
And refuse to be just and calm,
We would sound aloud the tocsin
And march to defend Uncle Sam.

* * * * *

To plant an intellectual seed
And guard its growth from noxious weed,
That it may fruitage bear,
Is solace more, a thousand fold,
Than hoarding bonds and stocks and gold,
Or sporting jewels rare.

[The end]
Jared Barhite's poem: Our Battlefield