In a croaking, tangled city, of filth and burning steel,
Of foul membranes and fashions that would make a'body reel,
A tangled field of grit and dust and stark bright flowers stood.
An old man looked on it, and saw that it was good.
"The foul things are coming; they would set up a compound
Of their empty modern progress upon this blessed ground,
And it lies here defenseless, without even a wall;
Will none protect its beauty? Will no one hear the call?"
The people looked at the old man as if he were quite mad,
Till one young man came forward, scarce more than a lad.
Under his long, flame-coloured hair a sullen hope he wore.
His father was a businessman, his mother was a whore.
"I have loved this lot all my life; it is free of creeping shames.
What could the slaves of Mammon give compared to children's games?
Here we were knights and fought the wurms that drop from outer space,
And I pledge my honour and my life to save this sacred place."
The foul things came; he turned his sword against their despot guns
More secret than the Freemasons, more ruthless than the Huns.
They shot him down, prostrate he lay, blood flowing from his breast,
In his hand his sword and a blooming weed he had chosen for a crest.
They sloshed their petrol over him; he blinked and lightly stirred,
With life-filled eyes looked up at them, but did not speak a word.
Under that rain of death he laughed, with pure innocent mirth,
Such as those folk had never heard, had lost soon after birth.
Feared of his joy, they hast'ly lit the gas mixed with his blood;
The flames burst up, their sunset light reflected by the mud.
With shimmering liquid and clasping flame that flashed like treasure fey,
The gave him a heathen funeral, tho' he wasn't a heathen like they.
Free to set up their compound, they made a hollow library,
Full of books that said nothing of God, of fighting, or of Faerie.
And the ultimate dishonor, a plaque hung by their Head,
In memory of him, for they could thrive, now that he was dead.
They gathered for the grand opening, called it a charity ball,
To present the poor with vapid texts to keep them in thrall,
When before them all, bright flames sprung up and flowed over the building,
Drenching it in blood-red light, a scorching scarlet gilding.
Now the field stands free and pure, green from the ashes that in it lie,
And children play, fight, and laugh under the incorruptible sky.
The fires of earth are merciful; they burn and then are gone,
But if we refuse them, there are other fires that burn forever on.
May Our Lady of the Rosary watch over him and all the friends from that time.