The Miracle of the Cross

John William Streets

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Showers of shrapnel, scream of deadly shells;
And broken lie the belfry's prayerful bells
Amid the silent, ruined cloisters, where
Lonely, mute on His Cross, Christ hangeth there.

There Life is at ebb-tide; even the air
Brings presage of swift death; Earth's bosom bare
Uplifted is in prayer unto the skies
While up to brazen Heaven are lifted eyes

Of stricken Mothers blinded with their pain;
Weeping for those they ne'er will see again;
Their hearts are numb beneath calamity-
No hope is left them, only memory.

The fire-swept leaves drift to an early tomb,
While Youth immortal find a noble doom-
Drift down to death in leaden hurricanes,
While scarr'd, near by, the crucifix remains

A symbol which men in their madness heed;
Symbol of Love to which their hope doth speed
Upon the wings of prayer; as there they die
The crucifix their end doth glorify.

For there when Life and Death end their dark feud
And Hatred veils its ugliness so nude;
When man looks o'er the chaos vast and deep;
When o'er her broken idols Love doth weep:

When peace blows from the south, another spring,
And men again of brotherhood do sing;
When Mem'ry seeks her agony to drown-
Batter'd and scarr'd, Christ pitying will look down:

Look down from His lone Calvary of pain-
Has He died for humanity in vain?-
Still brooding o'er the world for which He died,
Giving for men the life that they denied.

His lot Mount Olivet, Gethsemane,
The daily crown of scorn, dark Calvary
As looking down on man He sees them give
Their souls to Hate when thro' Love they may live.

Yet patient He looks down and tenderly;
His hope is wring'd with immortality;
He sees a time when on men He'll look down
From Calvary wearing a kingly crown.

July, 1915

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