John Boyle O'Reilly

(28 June 1844 - 10 August 1890 / Dowth Castle, County Meath)

There Is Blood On The Earth - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly

THERE is blood on the face of the earth-
It reeks through the years, and is red:
Where Truth was slaughtered at birth,
And the veins of Liberty bled.

Lo! vain is the hand that tries
To cover the crimson stain:
It spreads like a plague, and cries
Like a soul in writhing pain.

It wasteth the planet's flesh;
It calleth on breasts of stone:
God holdeth His wrath in a leash
Till the hearts of men atone.

Blind, like the creatures of time;
Cursed, like all the race,
They answer: '' The blood and crime
Belong to a sect and place! '

What are these things to Heaven—
Races or places of men?
The world through one Christ was forgiven—
Nor question of races then.

The wrong of to-day shall be rued
In a thousand coming years;
The debt must be paid in blood,
The interest, in tears.

Shall none stand up for right
Whom the evil passes by?
But God had the globe in sight,
And hearkens the weak one's cry.

Wherever a principle dies—
Nay, principles never die!
But wherever a ruler lies,
And a people share the lie;

Where right is crushed by force,
And manhood is stricken dead—
There dwelleth the ancient curse,
And the blood on the earth is red!


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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 21, 2012



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