these shall prevail

by Theodosia Garrison

War laid bugle to his lips, blew one blast–and then
The seas answered him with ships, the earth with men.

Straight, Death caught his sickle up, called his reapers grim,
Famine with his empty cup came after him.

Down the stairs of Paradise hastened angels three,
Pity, and Self-Sacrifice, and Charity.

Where the curved, black sickles sweep, where pale Famine clings,
Where gaunt women watch and weep, come these of wings.

When the red wrath perisheth, when the dulled swords fail,
These three who have walked with Death–these shall prevail.

Hell bade all its millions rise; Paradise sends three;
Pity, and Self-Sacrifice, and Charity.

Image: Newark Public Library via
Image: Newark Public Library via

Newark’s location on the Atlantic coast and its chemical and steel industries proved crucial to U.S. mobilization in the First World War. Wartime activities also profoundly transformed the city. Gazing into the future, a leading attorney commented that women involved in Red Cross work would no longer be content “to live lives of uselessness.”

Theodosia Garrison published this poem in the February 1918 Good Housekeeping magazine.

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