To the New Gods

by AE
You, who now wield by earthly right
The sceptres God-conferred of old,
Who know no law above your might,
No sceptre higher than you hold:
We pray you in the ancient words,
Have pity on the people, lords!

The kings who ruled us from the skies
For righteousness as tribute cried:
Your wrath demands more sacrifice
For word or deed that vexed your pride,
Our manhood to the battle flings.
Have mercy on us, mighty kings!

Whom shall we pray to now to give
The daily bread for us and ours,
For by ourselves we cannot live?
Hear, we beseech you, awful powers,
For blood of kin in payment shed,
Give us this day our daily bread!

You take the father and the son,
The brother and the kin away.
We can but cry, “Thy will be done,”
As to the gods of yesterday.
When childhood is bereft of all,
Will you be Father at its call?

The elder masters of our fate
Proclaimed a heaven above the stars.
You shadow forth the earthly state.
Forgive, O iron avatars,
Our fear the prayer “Thy kingdom come,”
Invokes some myriad martyrdom.

Yea, you are power before our eyes;
The love divine we took on trust.
What life you will we but surmise
And recreate ourselves in dust,
Like those too hopeless to deceive,
Who also tremble and believe.

The King of Kings made fair the earth;
The feast of life was nobly set.
The summons to that regal mirth
We would not hear or did forget.
Sadly He said, “Love would not win,
The iron hand must draw them in.”

Spare us, stern ministers of law,
A little, while we do repent,
Ere the grim state all life shall draw
Unto the feast of punishment,
The brotherhood that might compels,
The deepest of the human hells.
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