The Box


Lascelles Abercrombie

Once upon a time, in the land of Hush-A-Bye,

Around about the wondrous days of yore,

They came across a kind of box

Bound up with chains and locked with locks

And labeled "Kindly do not touch; it's war."

A decree was issued round about, and all with a flourish and a shout

And a gaily colored mascot tripping lightly on before.

Don't fiddle with this deadly box,

Or break the chains, or pick the locks.

And please don't ever play about with war.

The children understood. Children happen to be good

And they were just as good around the time of yore.

They didn't try to pick the locks

Or break into that deadly box.

They never tried to play about with war.

Mommies didn't either; sisters, aunts, grannies neither

'Cause they were quiet, and sweet, and pretty

In those wondrous days of yore.

Well, very much the same as now,

And not the ones to blame somehow

For opening up that deadly box of war.

But someone did. Someone battered in the lid

And spilled the insides out across the floor.

A kind of bouncy, bumpy ball made up of guns and flags

And all the tears, and horror, and death that comes with war.

It bounced right out and went bashing all about,

Bumping into everything in store.

And what was sad and most unfair

Was that it didn't really seem to care

Much who it bumped, or why, or what, or for.

It bumped the children mainly. And I'll tell you this quite plainly,

It bumps them every day and more, and more,

And leaves them dead, and burned, and dying

Thousands of them sick and crying.

'Cause when it bumps, it's really very sore.

Now there's a way to stop the ball. It isn't difficult at all.

All it takes is wisdom, and I'm absolutely sure

That we can get it back into the box,

And bind the chains, and lock the locks.

But no one seems to want to save the children anymore.

Well, that's the way it all appears, 'cause it's been bouncing round for years and years

In spite of all the wisdom wizzed since those wondrous days of yore

And the time they came across the box,

Bound up with chains and locked with locks,

And labeled "Kindly do not touch; it's war."


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