Voice of the Twentieth Century

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Voice of our Century, whose heart is broken,Weeping for those who will not come again--Lord Christ! hast thou been crucified in vain?--Challenge the right of every Tyrant's token:The fist of mail; the sceptre; ancient, oakenCoffers of gold for which thy sons are slain;The pride of place, which from the days of CainHath for the empty right of Power spoken!

Be like a trumpet blown from clouds of doomAgainst whatever seeks to bind on earth;Bring from the blood of battle, from the wombOf women weeping for their dead, the birthOf better days with banishment of wrong,Love in all hearts, on every lip--a song.


In much I am Agnostic, hold againstFine definitions of the ancient creeds,Keep back from dogma and forego the Church;But this I have through many searchings found:A Will at work on Man's deep truest self--A Power that is not Nature's central Flame,Yet works with it. This Will is in the LawCalled Evolution, and this Will is God!It hides in Matter--is the PrincipleThat leads the atom out of the electronUp through amœba till it ends in Man.Man is a mile-stone on the slow ascentWhose summits are encompassed by a mist.We may look back a little down the pathBy which we came, and we may look aheadDimly to guess what stations lie beyond;But we must not be certain, for we walkBy Faith and not by Sight.

I plead emancipation from the Church,The tyranny of Priests who blind the eyesOf Wisdom, threat and ban all those who seekTruth in the moment--not in yesterdays.I plead deliverance from DiplomatsAnd lying Warders of the State, who drawNations to battle for the gold that buysGrafter and Sycophant. I plead the rightOf Workmen to the wage commensurateWith the expense of living; plead the rightOf women to a place with men in allThat touches life, of children to good food,Pure air, laughter and play; I plead the rightTo think and give expression to my thought.

Man's night is now behind him and the dayLeaps up in glory burgeoning the hills.What lies behind us is the nurseryWith babies' baubles scattered on the floor--Toy soldiers, arks and pictured fairy books--The Man smiles kindly at them as he goesForth to his labour! There is much to do:The winding trails of ancient IgnoranceMust be made straight--a highway for the King;The hills that threatened us must be brought low;For there are songs of gladness in the wind,There is a chord of music from the trees--A noise of distant thunder that proclaimsThe coming of the God whose name is Man!

© Robert Norwood