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The Book of the Homeless/A Message


This is our gift to the Homeless.
What shall it bear from me
Safe in a land that prospers
Girded by leagues of sea?—
Tear moistened words of pity,
Bountiful sympathy.

Clearly we see the picture,
Horror has fixed our eyes.
Fighting to guard its hearthstones
A nation mangled lies.
Fire has charred its beauty.
Murder has stilled its cries;

And truths we love and cherish
Hang in the trembling scale.
If you win, we win by proxy.
If you fail, we are doomed to fail.
The world is beset by a monster.
Yet we watch to see who shall prevail.

Our souls are racked and quickened.
But prudence counsels no.
So we lavish our gold and pity
And wait to see how it will go,—
This pivotal war of the ages
With its heartrending ebb and flow.

For ever there comes the moment
When destiny bids "choose."
By the edge of the sword men perish.
By selfishness all they lose.
So Belgium stands transfigured
As the one who did not refuse.

Robert Grant