Masters of War

[Bob Dylan, author and artist of incisive musical poetry of the people’s sentiments and struggles for justice in the 1960’s, sharply described and condemned the horrific wars of the system in this song, Masters of War, performed in 1963.  An enduring expression of outrage and anger at the suffering of billions of people, it is all the more timely on this Armistice Day/Memorial Day, which the “masters of war” continually make into a glorification of their blood-soaked rule and wars of conquest — but which the people remember as the most hideous and callous destruction of generation after generation — since the 1914 beginning of the inter-imperialist World War I, touted falsely as “the war to end wars.”  Dylan himself has not always adhered to the clear vision and passionate advocacy of this song and others of that early period, but that does not diminish the timeless voice he has given to the struggle for justice and peace. — Frontlines ed.]

“Masters Of War”

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion’
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.

 

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