Other gods of war do not lay down their weapons
or cease from stirring up strife, but you, O Mars,
retire annually from the field. There is other work
to do: Finish gathering in the crops, bring home the beasts
from pasture, slaughter what is needed for meat,
shelter the beasts that will be bred. Weapons must be
cleaned and polished, roofs mended, the household gods
need honoring, wives and children and aged parents
all await the warrior’s return. And as you retreat,
father Mars, your chief priests dance to usher you home.
On this day, father Mars, may I, too, lay down my arms.
May I cease from battles which give no victory and no gain.
May I turn my strength to tending and mending, lit
and warmed by Vesta’s fire. May I dance instead of fighting.
May all battles cease, especially between those
who should not be enemies: Between the warrior and
the citizen, between the police and those they serve,
between parents and children, between women and men.
May the struggle for peace and justice continue, armed
not with swords or spears or guns or drones, but
with wisdom, with compassion, with truthful words,
and with your strength and perserverance, father Mars.