From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

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Before (poem)

By David Sandgrund

Before I lose the wonder of
The dawn at sunlight's kiss,
Before I cease to hear the sparrow
Singing in purest bliss,
Before I can no longer bask beneath
A canopy of trees,
And wonder at the mighty waves
Of the vast and endless seas,
Before the wolves no longer howl
Beneath the pale moonlight,
Before the winged creatures fail to hover
In full flight,
Before the prides and herds and pods
Of majestic beasts are killed,
All to slake the thirst and greed
Forever unfulfilled,
Before the careless appetites
And the whimsies of today
Turn youthful blooms and slender shoots
To acrid ashes grey,
Before we burn and maim and scar
Our only real home,
Before she turns her face away
From children she will soon disown,
Before the dark envelops us,
And the stink of death sets in,
Before we mourn the loss of lives
From a battle we cannot win,
If only when despair descends,
And naught but eternal strife
Rule over this once-promised land
Will we learn to value life?

—David Sandgrund

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