Treasure Island

David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Priest That Said Repent!


‘The time has come, ’ he heard them say
Outside his tiny cell,
‘Go in and get the beast to pray
To save his soul from Hell.’
The Priest then walked up to the bars
And stated his intent,
‘Will you confess at last, my son?
Will you, at last, repent? ’

‘The only thing that I repent, ’
The prisoner said at last,
While staring at the Priestly face
At length, through double glass,
‘Is how your justice operates,
Your Judge sits on his bench,
Determines guilt before the trial
And brooks no argument.’

‘You have been tried by twelve and true
Your jurors had their say,
Condemned you as a murderer
Before they walked away.’
‘They would have found me innocent
Had he not been precise,
And sent them back to change their view,
Not only once, but twice.’

‘The law’s the law, ’ the Priest replied,
‘The verdict said it’s you,
You had your day in court, and now
You’ll have to pay your due.’
‘I’m innocent, ’ the prisoner said,
‘I swear it before God! ’
‘Take not his name in vain, my son,
It’s time to reck his rod.’

‘Your God is just an ornament
To keep us fools in check,
If he were real, he’d swoop on down
And break the Judge’s neck.
The only God is in my heart
And he knows everything,
He welcomes us, the innocent,
Hypocrisy is sin.’

‘You risk your soul, ’ the priest replied,
‘So hold your tongue in check,
For soon it will be silenced as
The rope, it breaks your neck.’
‘How many Nuns have you despoiled,
How many children died,
How many now lie buried, spread
Across the countryside? ’

‘You hide behind your surplice, and
Your cassock and your gown,
You say you represent him, but
In fact, you put him down.
You tie us up with ritual
And steal our Peter’s Pence,
Then hide your sins by making all
The laity repent.’

‘I’ve had enough, ’ the Priest replied,
Then turned and stepped aside,
The gaolers tied his hands and feet
And shuffled him outside,
They dragged him to the gallows and
Put on the dreaded hood,
But still he called, ‘Repent yourself,
Oh Priest! You know you should! ’

It barely took a minute for
The rope and then the drop,
And then just twenty seconds for
His beating heart to stop,
The Priest’s thin hands had trembled
As he walked out in the cold,
And prayed, not for the prisoner,
But for his own poor soul.

His sins lay heavy on him as
He walked up to the nave,
Then knelt before the altar asking
God, his soul to save,
But God was strangely silent
And the Priest had felt like dross,
The morning saw him hanging
From the altar’s Holy Cross.

Submitted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, October 09, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

9 October 2013

Comments about this poem (The Priest That Said Repent! by David Lewis Paget )

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  • Aftab Alam Khursheed (10/8/2013 11:54:00 AM)

    guilty and the priest a very heart breaking poem in the part of priest and the conversational talk 'btween them is very intresting thank u sir great write (Report) Reply

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