Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of a world now gone this many a year.
What was to come, none then surmized.
Men proudly said: "We're civilized."
Of progress, no one had a doubt.
Few papers had to be filled out
To load men's hearts with long despairs,
No quotas, no dread questionnaires.
Taxes were low, and hopes were high..
Who sought to win had but to try. -
Security, as such, was spurned.
A man might keep what he had earned.
Men freely chose the way they sought,
And people paid for what they bought.
No visas, nay, no passports then
Were needed. Men were simply men.
To one and all, In every land,
Folk gave their kind a friendly hand.
Wherever it was you wished to go,
Only a ticket you had to show,
And the customs-men scarce cared how much
You had of this, or that, or such.
Although today it may seem strange,
There was no problem of exchange.
Rome, London, Mandalay, Tashkent,
Your gold was good wherever you went.
And even If I exaggerate,
I still adhere to what I state:
In that far time, now half despised,
"One world" had been nigh realized.
What came, you ask, of this great hope
That men might soon with all Ills cope?
In shell and bomb from war-machine,
It vanished, in nineteen fourteen.
From This Teeming Earth, © Paul Scott Mowrer, 1965