And then there was the day the angels arrived
To collect all the medals from all the wars,
From all the soldiers, both dead and alive.
They quietly opened all the dresser drawers,
Looked beneath handkerchiefs, in among socks.
Then they jimmied so gently all the desk drawer
Locks, and gathered from closets, from trunks,
From attics all ribbons, all pins, all clusters,
All stars, all the tarnished, shiny, bloody
Medals. And then they quickly sifted through
Row after row of coffins quietly
Unearthed. Cautiously the angels flew
Through rows of soldiers on parade, and, with
The gory glitter, disappeared from earth.
Alexander M. Jacobs was the Lutheran campus pastor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the co-director of UWM's Gamaliel Chair in Peace and Justice when this poem appeared.