Prayer from "On a Note of Triumph"

Norman Corwin, who just died in Los Angeles last week, wrote his radio opus On a Note of Triumph in 1945. He had originally planned it as a morale booster for the troops overseas, but it was aired on VE Day when allied victory in Europe was certain. I'm intrigued to hear this as the voice of hope for a world learning the lesson of war. But I'm particularly moved by the fact that it was written in the midst of war and so was an aspirational hope.

Lord God of trajectory and blast whose terrible sword has laid open the serpent so it withers in the sun for the just to see, sheathe now the swift avenging blade with the names of nations writ on it, and assist in the preparation of the ploughshare.

Lord God of fresh bread and tranquil mornings, who walks in the circuit of heaven among the worthy, deliver notice to the fallen that tokens of orange juice and a whole egg appear now before the hungry children; that night again falls cooling on the earth as quietly as when it leaves your hand; that Freedom has withstood the tyrant like a Malta in a hostile sea, and that the soul of humanity is surely a Sevastopol which goes down hard and leaps from ruin quickly.

Lord God of the topcoat and the living wage who has furred the fox against the time of winter and stored provender of bees in summer's brightest places, do bring sweet influences to bear upon the assembly line: accept the smoke of the milltown among the accredited clouds of the sky: fend from the wind with a house and hedge, those whom you made in your image, and permit them to pick of the tree and the flock that they may eat today without fear of tomorrow and clothe themselves with dignity in December.

Lord God of test-tube and blueprint who jointed molecules of dust and shook them till their name was Adam, who taught worms and stars how they could live together, appear now among the parliaments of conquerors and give instruction to their schemes: measure out new liberties so none shall suffer for their parents’ color or the credo of their choice: post proofs that kinship is not so wild a dream as those who profit by postponing it pretend: sit at the treaty table and convoy the hopes of the little peoples through expected straits, and press into the final seal a sign that peace will come for longer than posterities can see ahead, that one unto one shall be friend forever.