Aux Ternes

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Old 08-Oct-2010
Aux Ternes

SHE. - "Up and down, up and down,
From early eve to early day.
Life is quicker in the town;
When you've leisure, anyway!

"Down and up, down and up!
O will no one stop and speak?
I would really like to sup,
And my limbs are heavy and weak.

"What's my price, sir? I'm no Jew.
If with me you wish to sleep,
'Tis five francs, sir. Surely you
Will admit that that is cheap?"

HE. - "Christ, if you are not stone blind,
Stone deaf also, you know it is
Christian towns leave far behind
Sodom and those other cities.

"Bid your Father strike this town,
Wipe it utterly away!
Weary, hungry, up and down
From early eve to early day?

"Magdalen knew nought like this;
She had food and roof above;
Seven devils, too, did she possess;
This poor soul had but one - love!

"O my sister, take me, kill me!
I am one of those who once
Only cared to feast and fill me
On these robbed and murdered ones.

"Kill me? Nay, but love me; listen.
I have too a gospel word,
Fit to make still, dull eyes glisten,
And, like Christ's, it brings a sword!

"No, Christ is not deaf nor blind;
He's but dust in Syrian ground,
And his Father has declined
To a parson's phrase, a sound.

"Not by such, then, but by us
These hell-wrongs must be redressed.
Take this morsel venomous;
Nourish it within your breast.

"You must live on, live and hate;
Conquer wrath, despair and pain;
For "we bid you hope" and wait
Till the Red Flag flies again:

"Till once more the people rise,
Once more, once and only once,
Blood-red hands and blazing eyes
Of the robbed and murdered ones!

"So good night, dear desperate heart.
(Nay, 'tis sun-bright day we keep.)
Soon we meet, though now we part.
Kiss me . . . Take it . . . Go and sleep!"

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