The bravest battle that ever was fought!
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not;
‘Twas fought by the mothers of men.
Nay not with the cannon of battle-shot,
With a sword or noble pen;
Nay, not with eloquent words or thought
From mouth of wonderful men!
But deep in a walled-up woman’s heart —
Of a woman that would not yield,
But bravely, silently bore her part —
Lo, there is the battlefield!
No marshalling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But oh! those battles, they last so long —
From babyhood to the grave.
Yet, faithful still as a bridge of stars,
She fights in her walled-up town —
Fights on and on in her endless wars,
Then silent, unseen, goes down.
Oh, ye with banners and battle-shot,
And soldiers to shout and paise!
I tell you the kingliest victories fought
Were fought in those silent ways.
O spotless woman in a world of shame,
With splendid and silent scorn,
Go back to God as white as you came —
The Kingliest warrior born!
— Joaquin Miller (1839-1913)