"The Shovel is Brother to the Gun"


by Carl Sandburg

Long, steel guns,
Pointed from the war ships
In the name of the war god.
Straight, shining, polished guns,
Clambered over with jackies in white blouses,
Glory of tan faces, tousled hair, white teeth,
Laughing lithe jackies in white blouses,
Sitting on the guns singing war songs, war chanties.

Broad, iron shovels,
Scooping out oblong vaults,
Loosening turf and leveling sod.

I ask you
To witness—
The shovel is brother to the gun.

War Memorial at The Park at Bothell Landing
"The Shovel is Brother to the Gun"

2 thoughts on “"The Shovel is Brother to the Gun"

  1. 1

    Isn’t bravery obsolete, now that the US advance team is composed of drones?

    Can we begin to hope that these war dead will be our last?

    And can we look forward to the day coming soon when Moore’s Law makes the so cheap that their targets too will only be other drones, and not bakeries and wedding parties?

  2. 2

    Seeing this article reminded me of a picture I’d taken on our travels. Thanks for the reminder.

    And yes, I think the shovel is brother to the gun. In fact, it’s the older brother, the one who does the responsible thing, and the one who figures out how to build a better world.

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