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 Site Map > Electronic Library > E. Nesbit > Many Voices > POEM: THE STOLEN GOD - LAZARUS TO DIVES

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Many Voices

by E. Nesbit



We do not clamour for vengeance,
We do not whine for fear;
We have cried in the outer darkness
Where was no man to hear.
We cried to man and he heard not;
Yet we thought God heard us pray;
But our God, who loved and was sorry -
Our God is taken away.

Ours were the stream and the pasture,
Forest and fen were ours;
Ours were the wild wood-creatures,
The wild sweet berries and flowers.
You have taken our heirlooms from us,
And hardly you let us save
Enough of our woods for a cradle,
Enough of our earth for a grave.

You took the wood and the cornland,
Where still we tilled and felled;
You took the mine and quarry,
And all you took you held.
The limbs of our weanling children
You crushed in your mills of power;
And you made our bearing women toil
To the very bearing hour.

You have taken our clean quick longings,
Our joy in lover and wife,
Our hope of the sunset quiet
At the evening end of life;
You have taken the land that bore us,
Its soil and stone and sod;
You have taken our faith in each other -
And now you have taken our God.

When our God came down from Heaven
He came among men, a Man,
Eating and drinking and working
As common people can;
And the common people received Him
While the rich men turned away.
But what have we to do with a God
To whom the rich men pray?

He hangs, a dead God, on your altars,
Who lived a Man among men,
You have taken away our Lord
And we cannot find Him again.
You have not left us a handful
Of even the earth He trod . . .
You have made Him a rich man's idol
Who came as a poor man's God.

He promised the poor His heaven,
He loved and lived with the poor;
He said that the rich man's shadow
Should never darken His door:
But bishops and priests lie softly,
Drink full and are fully fed
In the Name of the Lord, who had not
Where to lay His head.

This is the God you have stolen,
As you steal all else - in His name.
You have taken the ease and the honour,
Left us the toil and the shame.
You have chosen the seat of Dives,
We lie where Lazarus lay;
But, by God, we will not yield you our God,
You shall not take Him away.

All else we had you have taken;
All else, but not this, not this.
The God of Heaven is ours, is ours,
And the poor are His, are His.
Is He ours? Is He yours? Give answer!
For both He cannot be.
And if He is ours - O you rich men,
Then whose, in God's name, are ye?

Turn to the next chapter: POEM: WINTER

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