What better day than December 31 to post this powerful poem by C.A. Hollis, “Wasted Years,” from “Servigliano Calling”?
The first three stanzas condemn greed, hatred, and human failings as the cause of wasted years.
Then, the final stanza offers a glimmer of hope as “Nations unite, together fight/This useless waste to banish.” These young men’s sacrifice of the best years of their lives will ensure a future “happy and free” for all.
The poem is rich with allegorical figures: Peace weeping, Mars (god of war) ruling supreme, Death reaping human lives, and Hate planting the seeds of enslavement.
Peace is weeping, progress is sleeping,
Mars is ruling the world.
Death’s scythe is creeping, and steadily reaping,
Since the war flags were unfurled.
We are back upon the track,
That leads to death and tears,
Thrones and tumbling, guns are rumbling,
Now’s the time of wasted years.
Man’s intentions, and inventions
Are enlisted in the course to kill.
Human greed, and ill-famed deed
Has conquered human will.
Lack of trust, in human dust,
T’is the point of all our fears.
Love of sword, before the word,
Is the cause of wasted years.
Wasted cities; —useless pities
Do not upbuild them all anew.
Rape and raving, starvation, craving,
Make this world a hellish brew.
Overhead annihilation rears.
Hate planted the seed, of this enslaving weed,
The cause of wasted years.
Nations unite, together fight
This useless waste to banish.
Trust each other, call all brother,
Fears will then all banish.
Use your resources, and all your forces,
To make war disappear.
United you’ll be, happy and free,
And ne’er have a wasted year.