Grace Paley






What a terrible racket they made
beating all those swords into plowshares
people were deafened worldwide     letters
of protest    as well as serious essays
pointing out in the sensible way
of ordinary people   we no longer
use plowshares   swords have been
for generations the playthings
of boys and men


now the government that year happened
to be a poet    it explained
in a kindly way    citizens we had
in mind a living performing metaphor
using familiar religious themes and
literary memories    of course once we
get those useless plowshares there
may be a couple of economic or 
industrial uses    we will even be able
to beat them back into swords should swords
still be required by boys and men