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Voltairine de Cleyre

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Pale, ghostly Vision from the coffined years,

Planting the cross with thy world wandering feet,
Stern Watcher through the centuries' storm and beat.

In those sad eyes, between those grooves of tears,

Those eyes like caves where sunlight never dwells
And stars but dimly shine, stand sentinels

That watch with patient hope, through weary days,

That somewhere, sometime, He indeed may "come,"

And thou at last find thee a resting-place,

Blast-driven leaf of Man, within the tomb.

Aye, they have cursed thee with the bitter curse,

And driven thee with scourges o'er the world ;
Tyrants have crushed thee, Ignorance has hurled

Its black anathema;—but Death's pale hearse

That bore them graveward, passed thee silently,
And vainly didst thou stretch thy hands and cry:

"Take me instead"; not yet for thee the time,

Not yet—not yet; thy bruised and mangled limbs

Must still drag on, still feed the Vulture, Crime.

With bleeding flesh, till rust its steel beak dims.

Aye, "till He come,"—He—Freedom, Justice, and Peace,

Till then shah thou cry warning through the earth,
Unheeding pain, untouched by death and birth.

Proclaiming "Woe, woe, woe," till men shall cease

To seek for Christ within the senseless skies,
And, joyous, find Him in each others' eyes.

Then shall be builded such a tomb for thee

Shall beggar kings as diamonds outshine dew !

The Universal Heart of Man shall be

The sacred urn of "the accursed Jew."


  • Voltairine de Cleyre, “Ahasuerus,” The Open Court 8, no. 40 (October 4, 1894): 4246.