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Young Democracy

HARK! Young Democracy from sleep
 Our careless sentries raps:
A backwash from the Future’s deep
 Our Evil’s foreland laps.
Unknown, these Titans of our Night
 Their New Creation make:
Unseen, they toil and love and fight
 That glamoured Man may wake.
Knights-errant of the human race,
 The Quixotes of to-day,
For man as man they claim a place,
 Prepare the tedious way.
They seek no dim-eyed mob’s applause,
 Deem base the titled name,
And spurn, for glory of their Cause,
 The tawdry nymphs of Fame.
No masks of ignorance or sin
 Hide from them you or me:
We’re Man—no colour shames our skin,
 No race or caste have we.
The prognathous Neanderthal,
 To them, conceals the Bruce;
They see Dan Aesop in the thrall;
 From swagmen Christ deduce.
Tho’ butt for lecher’s ribaldry
 And scarred by woman’s scorn,
In baby-burdened girl they see
 God-motherhood forlorn.
With them, to racial siredom glides
 The savage we deprave;
That eunuch brilliant Narses hides:
 A Spartacus, that slave.
They Jesus find in manger waif;
 In horse-boys Shakespearehood:
And earthquake-Luthers nestling safe
 In German miner’s brood.
The God that pulses everywhere
 They know fills Satan’s veins;
No felon but they see Him there
 Behind His mirror’s stains.
’Tis theirs Earth’s charnel rooms to clear,
 And ruthless sweep away
The Lares and Penates dear
 To man in his decay.
Their restless energy supplies
 Munitions that will wreck
The keeps whence feudal enemies
 Our free banditti check.
Their unrelenting wars they wage,
 These Furies of the Right,
Where myriad Falsehood’s legions rage,
 Artilleried by Might;
Where Fashion’s stupid iron clamps
 Young Innovation’s head,
And Law the stalwart Present cramps
 In Past’s Procrustes-bed;
Where Pride of learning, substance, blood,
 Or prowess in the strife,
Exacts from teeming lowlihood
 The lion’s share of life;
Where Gluttony would to the brutes
 Degrade his loose-lipped gangs;
Where Tyranny his venom shoots
 From one or million fangs;
Where Cruelty, in Wisdom’s mask,
 Piths fame from writhing beasts;
Where blest is racial Murder’s task
 By Christ’s apostate priests.
In Punic or in Persian fray
 With Love’s and Conscience’ foes,
Unadvertising Romans they,
 And Spartans free from pose.
Abused as mad or traitors by
 The trolls they would eject;
Cold-shouldered by wan Apathy;
 Of motives mean suspect;
Outcast from social gaieties;
 Denied life’s lilied grace;
They mount their hidden Calvaries
 To save the human race.
The bowers of Art a few may know;
 A few wait highly placed:
Most bear the hods of common woe,
 And some you call disgraced.
But whether in the mob or school,
 In church or poverty,
They teach and live the Golden Rule
 Of Young Democracy:—
‘That culture, joy and goodliness
 Be th’ equal right of all:
That Greed no more shall those oppress
 Who by the wayside fall:
‘That each shall share what all men sow:
 That colour, caste’s a lie:
That man is God, however low—
 Is man, however high.’

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:26 min read

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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