Lascelles Abercrombie

Here you will find the Poem The Box of poet Lascelles Abercrombie

The Box

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."