Lord of the Law, high chieftain of the mind?


But what can Europe say, when in your name

The throats are cut, the lotus-ponds turn red?

And what can Europe say, when with a laugh

Old Asia heaps her hecatombs of dead?

V. The Unpardonable Sin

This is the sin against the Holy Ghost:--

To speak of bloody power as right divine,

And call on God to guard each vile chief's house,

And for such chiefs, turn men to wolves and swine:--

To go forth killing in White Mercy's name,

Making the trenches stink with spattered brains,

Tearing the nerves and arteries apart,

Sowing with flesh the unreaped golden plains.

In any Church's name, to sack fair towns,

And turn each home into a screaming sty,

To make the little children fugitive,

And have their mothers for a quick death cry,--

This is the sin against the Holy Ghost:

This is the sin no purging can atone:--

To send forth rapine in the name of Christ:--

To set the face, and make the heart a stone.

VI. Above the Battle's Front

St. Francis, Buddha, Tolstoi, and St. John--

Friends, if you four, as pilgrims, hand in hand,

Returned, the hate of earth once more to dare,

And walked upon the water and the land,

If you, with words celestial, stopped these kings

For sober conclave, ere their battle great,

Would they for one deep instant then discern

Their crime, their heart-rot, and their fiend's estate?

If you should float above the battle's front,

Pillars of cloud, of fire that does not slay,

Bearing a fifth within your regal train,

The Son of David in his strange array--

If, in his majesty, he towered toward Heaven,

Would they have hearts to see or understand?

... Nay, for he hovers there to-night we know,

Thorn-crowned above the water and the land.

VII. Epilogue. Under the Blessing of Your Psyche Wings

Though I have found you like a snow-drop pale,

On sunny days have found you weak and still,

Though I have often held your girlish head

Drooped on my shoulder, faint from little ill:--

Under the blessing of your Psyche-wings

I hide to-night like one small broken bird,

So soothed I half-forget the world gone mad:--

And all the winds of war are now unheard.

My heaven-doubting pennons feel your hands

With touch most delicate so circling round,

That for an hour I dream that God is good.

And in your shadow, Mercy's ways abound.

I thought myself the guard of your frail state,

And yet I come to-night a helpless guest,

Hiding beneath your giant Psyche-wings,

Against the pallor of your wondrous breast.

[End of original text.]

Biographical Note:

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931):

(Vachel is pronounced Vay-chul, that is, it rhymes with 'Rachel').

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