The City of Sloth [poem by Marie E. J. Pitt]

[Editor: This poem by Marie E. J. Pitt was published in The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses (1911).]

The City of Sloth.

The city of a thousand gates
That ope on all the seas,
A thousand fleets that bear the freights
Of opulence and ease!

The city of a thousand gates
That ope on all the lands,
Whose fruitage falls, whose fullness waits
To fill her high commands!

Boast not her pride, ye aldermen,
Ye pharisaic few!
Who know not that dread moment when
Nemesis sups with you.

Her legions, pitiless and stark,
Have slipped oppression’s chain,
To surge, death-drifted thro’ the dark,
And claim their own again.

Reckless ye dare the unseen odds,
Take heed, ye hooded owls!
And turn ye, turn ye to your gods,
Or e’er the man-pack howls!

Your pride is false, your boasting lies,
Your feasting tragedy;
Your triumphs peer thro’ haunting eyes
Of human misery!

Around your boards the vampire brood
Which veils its traitor face
In patriot domino and hood
Claims its dishonoured place!

Power and more power, your captains strive
For victories of an hour!
Blindfold, but desperate ye drive
The blindfold steeds of power!

Wealth and more wealth, the pigmy power
That holds your helots tame,
Shall turn to ashes in the hour
That sees your skies aflame!

Wealth and more wealth, the petty pride,
Slow compassed, swift undone —
Nineveh in the dust doth hide!
And where is Babylon?

Quick! to your gates! the pent flame leaps,
To whelm your brittle dross;
Too late! the red wing’d terror sweeps
Your tottering towers across!

Wolf and grey wolf — Nemesis nods —
Take heed, ye hooded owls!
And turn ye, turn ye to your gods,
Or e’er the man-pack howls!

Wolf and grey wolf — the balance turns —
To-morrow’s winds at play
Shall whistle o’er unhonoured urns
Of immemorial clay!



Source:
Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 87-89

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