Dora Sigerson Shorter

(1866-1918 / Ireland)

The Choice - Poem by Dora Sigerson Shorter

This Consul Casement—he who heard the cry
Of stricken people—and who in his fight
To lift the torture load from broken men,
And shield sad women from eternal night,
Went through lone, hot, and fevered foreign lands.
For doomèd Casement, slaves that he raised up
Pray with strong voices, so a wide world hears.
Men saved from anguish, women saved from shame,
He dried your children's tears!
He gave you life—for him lift pleading hands.
Sir Roger Casement, honoured for his years
Of stress and struggle, of fatigue and work,
What is the claim of his frail human needs

For arduous hours he did not shun nor shirk,
A King's reward, a royal friendliness!
For honoured Casement titles and renown,
A future great with promise, all life's page
Writ in gold letters, and a path so soft
One could not hear the coming of old age
To point an honoured tomb that nations bless.
Ah! Irish Casement, in the roar of war
That stung his blood and whipped his manhood's fire.
What did he hear upon red shaken earth,
Where little nations struggle and expire?
Some banshee cry upon the hot wind thrills!
And Roger Casement—he who freed the slave,
Made sad babes smile and tortured women hope,
Flung all aside, King's honours and great years,
To take for finis here a hempen rope,
And banshee cries upon far Irish hills.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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