The World is Vast
The world is vast, the sky is wide,
and I am vaster still inside,
but not from pride -- from love of you,
which lifts my heart with sunrise new,
a light most true and angel-kissed.
Beneath the sky, the world by mile
with gaps that yawn and hills that pile
goes on a while until the sea,
which is less vast than inside me;
the breezes free flow out to sky.
When you are gone, you shall be missed;
my heart will hunker down to cry.
My soul will shrink and then consist
of scarcely space enough to sigh.
The pagans wag their fingers at me now:
"Pay service to great Moloch, praise his name,
give Baal your pence that you may buy and sell."
I know the workings of their little game,
the collars that they weld, the jails they build.
The words have changed through time, but not the thought.
Apollo's boys go dancing through the streets,
the temple whores in every square are sought,
the harlot scarlet-dressed on seven hills
trades souls to gain the world; her wine is blood,
intoxicating kingdoms with its taste.
And we in tattered rags and filthy mud
at their sufferance live; the sweet thrill of rule
depends on wills unbent; to make us bow
is all of power's joy, to make us say
that they are right, that the sky is red now,
that one and one make three and always have,
that Astoreth alone is holy queen,
that words that have been used as words are used
no longer mean the things they always mean.
But all of this will pass, as it once passed.
Lie cannot endure; truth alone can last.
The names will right themselves, and bosh will fade,
their game a brief distortion of the truth.
Again like steel the bond of man and maid
will here and there be forged and will not break.
Their children will unlearn the lies now told.
The gods will flee in fear from Moses' staff
and fire devastate the harlot bold.
But steady -- words may change, but thought returns,
and liars one day lies again will tell;
there is no path that leads away from this
as long as we still loiter here near hell.
This only must one do: hold to the way,
hold to the truth, no matter what they say.