The Book of the Homeless/Horror and Beauty



Gashed hands of children who cry out for bread—
While as the flames from sacred places rise
The Blonde Beast, hideous, with blood-shot eyes
And obscene gesture mutilates the dead—

But neither Roncesvalles where Roland bled
With Turpin, nor Greek deeds of high emprise
Can to a pitch of purer beauty rise
Than the Young King, the Priest, unconqueréd.

Oh King, soon all thy foes may'st thou repel!
And thou, High-Priest, from whose ring, raised to men,
Shone the one gleam of Heaven in that Hell,

May thy empurpled vestments so avail
That from the Cross—not made of Iron then—
A richer Christ glow in thy holy grail.

Translated by Walter V. R. Berry