This poem is from the novel The End of Innocence. There it’s written by a German soldier. It was based on an actual poem by a German-American who desperately wanted reconciliation in the early days of World War I. The original poem by Harvard professor Kuno Francke can be found here.

A Prayer

Is this how a spirit dies? On a dark

August day under the guns of strangers

Our children drown in the blood of a world

Not we but our fathers made. We die for

Thoughts we don’t think, and for men we don’t love.

Luther’s God, build your fortress round our hearts

Until our souls are welcomed back to earth.

Grant the gift of Spring to a broken race.

(c) 2014 Allegra Jordan THE END OF INNOCENCE

Ayd (The Witness)

This poem in the novel is written by Helen Brooks, a young Bostonian. I wrote it after going the wedding of Jonathan Zasloff in Lake Tahoe and dedicated it to he and his wife’s beautiful spirit.

They wore grey suits and brown ties

To the wedding by the shore

Their covered heads and laughing eyes

Crackled with wit not given in halves.

I didn’t know them,

But I laughed in their mirth.


I didn’t see your love

But I felt it in my heart.

I didn’t hold the chair

But my hands clapped in time.

I didn’t sing.

But my heart did. And loudly.


I never touched the water that day

But a bit ran down my face

That such grace had bloomed

In a garden of sand.

(c) 2014 Allegra Jordan, THE END OF INNOCENCE.