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By Paul Hertelendy ’53
Posted May 1, 2003


The drums are sounding grim alarms
As young men, barely shaving,
Travel to the battles in that dust-blown desert-furnace
With their space suits made to parry cruel new-age weapons:
Gas and germs and nuclear devices
Banned in every civilized environment.

Dissenting, people back at home are marching too
And crying PEACE as fervently and earnestly
As others loading rhetoric and rockets for an all-out war.

Countless miles away in safety zones
The gray-haired striped-pants men dance diplomatic minuets
Of nations most divided, not united,
Bedeviled by that shrewd dictator on the Tigris
Who manipulates the world
In poker games of grand annihilation.

Are we entering a global madhouse?
Can this terrifying conflict's aftermath restore our faith,
Or are the countless prayers in church and temple
Doomed to be in vain?

Paul Hertelendy ’53
March 8, 2003

To submit a poem, email us at paw@princeton.edu