The Feast of Belshazzar

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Voltairine de Cleyre

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By Voltairine de Cleyre

Hark! Low down you will hear
The storm in the underground!
Listen, Tyrants, and fear!
Quake at that muffled sound!
"Heavens, that mocked our dust,
Smile on, in your pitiless blue!
Silent as you are to us,
So silent are we to you!
"Churches that scourged our brains!
Priests that locked fast our hands!
We planted the torch in your chains:
Now gather the burning brands!
"States that have given us law,
When we asked for the right to earn bread!
The Sword that Damocles saw
By a hair swings over your head!
"What ye have sown ye shall reap:
Teardrops, and Blood, and Hate,
Gaunt gather before your Seat,
And knock at your palace gate!
"There are murderers on your Thrones!
There are thieves in your Justice-halls!
White Leprosy cancers their stones,
And gnaws at their worm-eaten walls!
"And the Hand of Belshazzar's Feast
Writes over, in flaming light,
Thought's Kingdom no more to the Priest;
Nor the Law of Right unto Might."

  • Voltairine de Cleyre, “The Feast of Belshazzar,” Mother Earth 9, no. 1 (March 1914): 4.