Refuse the Image

O set a watch, O set a watch
Over my lips. I see the deep
State with its eunuch-poison botch

The soul of man, to make us cheap
And free to be ourselves and not
Ourselves when in the mirror’s leap.

O liberty! which by a plot
Doth forge my roboself
In autostep to bleed and clot –

All for the worn and weary shelf
To be replenished for the show
Of life imagined by a Guelf,

Whose totalizing vision’s woe,
Inflicted now upon us all,
He casts as rapture to forgo

If we would reckon it a fall
Of recollection to espouse
A people’s death as its halal.

New popery, new deadly vows,
A votive for new Antichrist.
Imperium it disavows.

Ha! we at thirty shekels priced
Shall be delivered to the priest,
Our natural spirit neatly sliced

And our right reason softly leased,
For quiet safety’s sake,
To the seductions of the Beast.

Of usury now let God shake
The heavens and the cursed earth,
And swiftly of this cursed ache.

Tell me how much your faith is worth
When desolating idols come
To cut off Israel’s second birth,

When to exact their token sum,
They will demand apostasy:
A pinch of incense, just a crumb

For loyalty. O Maccabee,
Resist in battle for your hearts
The terms that ‘for the gospel’ see

Smooth comfort for the ruling parts
In halls of pow’r, and not for poor
And broken reeds in ‘bigot’ carts;

For those despisers of the pure
Who worship sea-beasts, not for those
That trust the word of God is sure.

By this clear sign, whom YHWH chose
(When all are passing through the fire)
Is shown against his false-friend foes.

O Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
That we may love him who hath saved
And doth our living faith require;

To turn from images depraved
And serve the living Christ with fear,
His justice in our hearts engraved.

Love rises up, sometimes austere
Against the image on the plain,
Waiting for God soon to appear.

Meanwhile these precepts here remain:
To live is Christ, to die is gain.

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