Bernard O'Dowd

Our Duty

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Yet what were Love if man remains unfree,
And woman's sunshine sordid merchandise:
If children's Hope is blasted ere they see
Its shoots of youth from out the branchlets rise:
If thought is chained, and gagged is Speech, and Lies
Enthroned as Law befoul posterity,
And haggard Sin's ubiquitous disguise
Insults the face of God where'er men be?

Ay, what were Love, my love, did we not love
Our stricken brothers so, as to resign
For Its own sake, the foison of Its dower:
That, so, we two may help them mount above
These layers of charnel air in which they pine,
To seek with us the Presence and the Power?

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Bernard O'Dowd