The Heathen of To-Day [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 Heathen of To-Day.

Haste not, pale zealots, cross in hand,
To peoples far away;
They rage within your native land,
The Heathen of to-day.

Their altars mock the sullen skies,
They worship unafraid,
With daily human sacrifice,
The Juggernauts of Trade,

Black Competition’s altars smoke;
The people’s veins run dry;
Mammon’s accursed vultures choke
The glory of the sky.

Hyssop and rue and mandragore
Fringe Fashion’s fetid marge;
The helot sinks beside the oar
On Luxury’s gilded barge.

The Heathen sunk in mire of creeds,
And riot of excess,
Hedged by historic wrong that pleads
For all unrighteousness!

Ecclesiastic lords that mock
Humanity’s poor need,
And sacerdotal granaries lock
With triple bars of greed!

Judicial murderers, whose hands
Encompass misery!
Despots who hold or loose the bands
Of human destiny,

Who, born and bred within the bond
Of Macchiavellian bars,
Conceive no deity beyond
Their piteous avatars,

Who offer human sacrifice
To idols made of dross,
And spit upon the fearful price
Of Christ upon the cross —

Yea! in their blind idolatry
Sloth-slackened sinews strain
To lift the Lamb of Calvary
Upon the Cross again!

For these! for these that break and bleed
To glut their follies new,
These for whose sake that Christ would plead
“They know not what they do!”

— Meek zealots, let your lamps be lit!
Haste! win them while ye may!
In Earth’s high places proudly sit
The “Heathen” of to-day!

Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 70-72

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