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Love and Sacrifice

CAN we not consecrate
 To man and God above
This volume of our great
 Supernal tide of love?
 
’Twere wrong its wealth to waste
 On merely me and you,
In selfish touch and taste,
 As other lovers do.
 
This love is not as theirs:
 It came from the Divine,
Whose glory still it wears,
 And print of Whose design.
 
The world is full of woe,
 The time is blurred with dust,
Illusions breed and grow,
 And eyes’ and flesh’s lust.
 
The mighty league with Wrong
 And stint the weakling’s bread;
The very lords of song
 With Luxury have wed.
 
Fair Art deserts the mass,
 And loiters with the gay;
And only gods of brass
 Are popular to-day.
 
Two souls with love inspired,
 Such lightning love as ours,
Could spread, if we desired,
 Dismay among such powers:
 
Could social stables purge
 Of filth where festers strife:
Through modern baseness surge
 A holier tide of life.
 
Yea, two so steeped in love
 From such a source, could draw
The angels from above
 To lead all to their Law.
 
We have no right to seek
 Repose in rosy bower,
When Hunger thins the cheek
 Of childhood every hour:
 
Nor while the tiger, Sin,
 ’Mid youths and maidens roams,
Should Duty skulk within
 These selfish cosy homes.
 
Our place is in the van
 With those crusaders, who
Maintain the rights of man
 ’Gainst despot and his crew.
 
If sacrifice may move
 Their load of pain from men,
The greatest right of Love
 Is to renounce It then.
 
Ah, Love, the earth is woe’s
 And sadly helpers needs:
And, till its burden goes,
 Our work is—where it bleeds.

 

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:22 min read
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Bernard O'Dowd

Bernard Patrick O'Dowd was an Australian activist, educator, poet, journalist, and author of several law books and poetry books. O'Dowd worked as an assistant-librarian and later Chief Parliamentary Draughtsman in the Supreme Court at Melbourne for 48 years; he was also a co-publisher and writer for the radical paper Tocsin. Bernard O'Dowd lived to age 87. more…

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