I am a man
whose vintage is of five-and-twenty;
I have walked by martyrs in the making,
I have slept by cousin Goths and firebrands!
And with them both I hobbled as a Clayborn
Lifted far above the desert faith of thousands.
I have wailed from hangmen’s nooses hung,
I have clutched the stumps beneath beheading axes;
Why, I have conquered Rome!
And still I cannot count a cause,
Still my faith is mute.
Gold-clad, the crosses varnish now the dusk:
Prayer beneath the noise of children clapped in chains.
That we have conquered, yet
That we are victors, yet
Still upon the winner’s rock,
Our faith is stunted, silent, still.
And so my vintage and my vision read,
And so they live,
My vintage five-and-twenty.