Our Bargain


Our Bargain was published in Fifes and Drums: Poems of America at War (1917).
Is all our world upon a counter laid?
    That is their taunt who say they know us well.
Then, like true merchants, let us to our trade;
    What wares has God to sell?

A world at liberty, a path made clear
    For steadfast justice and enduring peace,
Nations released forever from the fear
    Of evil days like these—

A sound investment! but . . . the price is high.
    Long-hoarded wealth in ruin, flame and steel,
Death lurking in the sea and in the sky—
    What say you? Shall we deal?

Shall we know terror, shall our strong ones fall
    That others' children, fearless in the sun,
May see our visions and accomplish all
    That we must leave undone?

We take thy bargain, Master of the Mart.
    Though we may flinch, we cannot turn away.
Send thy resistless fire upon our heart
    And make us strong to pay.

Visit our World War I Literature collection for more poetry, short stories, and novels by authors who experienced the War firsthand.


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