March 24, 2008

"Belinda's Price"

Her chosen grave before him, Paddy brought his shovel down
And pierced the breast of Ireland to prise it from the ground.
He lift his eyes to heaven and he cried out sad and clear:
"Oh Lourd, why take Belinda and her Spirit from us here?"

"Ah, Lourd," prayed sturdy Paddy, "ye have giv'n us this Earth
And all which grows upon it and beneath, for what it's worth,
But why did ye see fit to give us poor Belinda May
If only as a flower seven years and snatched away?

"What did she in her little life not holy in your Sight?
What sin had she committed? None! so what gave you the right
To take her back untimely? Well, for taking her away,
I take this stand...I'll be god-damned if I won't make You pay!

"Belinda's Price from You, oh Lourd, is lasting Peace on Earth;
My price for her removal is redemption from our curse!
You may not wish to pay this price, but I say all the same...
My name is Paddy Donnell, and by God I make the claim!"

The blessed Moon, in crescent, like a silver scimitar
Slid sideways through a smoky sky and left behind a scar.
A Star shone through that rifted cloud of midnight in the mist
And took a fair position over Paddy's outflung fist.

And Lo! a Voice, a Rumble, like a thousand raining stones
In tumble down a mountainside in mashing, crashing moans
As if from many miles away, yet to one ears are borne
Such came the Voice of God to Paddy, answering his scorn:

"I hear ye, brother Paddy, oh ye simple, foolish man...
I hear ye as ye bellow badly, questioning my Plan
Such arrogance as you display deserves no recompense
But as I am a gracious God, to PEACE I will consent..."

And from that moment all the people, land to burning land,
Cast off from war and fighting, and instead began again
To take this World and make it in the Image of Above,
And drown all hate in charity, in hope, and faith, and love.

And children gathered flowers, woven in a grateful garland,
And in Belinda's memory they danced the fields of Ireland.
And Irish mothers smiled on them, and knew, forevermore
Their sons would be no sacrifice to foolishness of war.

By Paddy's sons' and brothers' toil a monument was raised:
A "Statue of Belinda", carved and placed above her grave.
And every morn about it were a thousand petals flung!
And everywhere those blossoms fell, a thousand seedlings sprung.

But what of Paddy, father, left to ponder what God wrought?
Well, after many months had passed, with Peace at long last bought,
He pined for poor Belinda, and her blessed presence lost,
And in the end he muttered, "Lourd, it wasn't worth the cost."

4 comments:

---Michael--- said...

This poem was composed in 1997 with much help and advice and input and kindly additions from Gail Slaughter, without whom I would never have completed it.

Andrée said...

OH Michael, this is so beautiful and surprisingly lonely. Peace doesn't cure the loneliness and loss. It's a brilliant poem.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I will have to come back and read this again, it deserves more than one reading.

Billy said...

It's a fine piece of work!!! Well done.