Learning Hate, Poem by William Stafford Teaches How War Starts
November 28, 2017
by Molly Wingate
Photo by Sgt. Erica Vinyard Wikipedia Commons
I find this poem breathtaking. I hope you do, too. Stafford’s simple scene challenges us to recognize that the enemies of humanity are those who teach hate.
A piccolo played, then a drum.
Feet began to come — a part
of the music. Here came a horse,
clippety clop, away.
My mother said, “Don’t run —
the army is after someone
other than us. If you stay
you’ll learn our enemy.”
Then he came, the speaker. He stood
in the square. He told us who
to hate. I watched my mother’s face,
its quiet. “That’s him,” she said.
from Every War Has Two Losers, William Stafford on Peace and War, 2003