Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

Emancipation - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

Behold! the days of miracle at last
Return-if ever they were truly past:
From sinful creditors' unholy greed
The church called Calvary at last is freed
So called for there the Savior's crucified,
Roberts and Carmany on either side.

The circling contribution-box no more
Provokes the nod and simulated snore;
No more the Lottery, no more the Fair,
Lure the reluctant dollar from its lair,
Nor Ladies' Lunches at a bit a bite
Destroy the health yet spare the appetite,
While thrifty sisters o'er the cauldron stoop
To serve their God with zeal, their friends with soup,
And all the brethren mendicate the earth
With viewless placards: 'We've been _so_ from birth!'

Sure of his wage, the pastor now can lend
His whole attention to his latter end,
Remarking with a martyr's prescient thrill
The Hemp maturing on the cheerless Hill.
The holy brethren, lifting pious palms,
Pour out their gratitude in prayer and psalms,
Chant _De Profundis_, meaning 'out of debt,'
And dance like mad-or would if they were let.

Deeply disguised (a deacon newly dead
Supplied the means) Jack Satan holds his head
As high as any and as loudly sings
His _jubilate_ till each rafter rings.
'Rejoice, ye ever faithful,' bellows he,
'The debt is lifted and the temple free!'
Then says, aside, with gentle cachination:
'I've got a mortgage on the congregation.'


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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 28, 2012



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