At The City Gates

No war-machine or ram, nor Jericho-shouts and blasts
Will bring these city gates and walls to crumble down;
Though yet, says time, no proud eternal city lasts.

What war, how many armies, will cause to tumble down
These firm defensive walls? I’ve sent them all to die
It seems – a sad achievement’s humble crown,

Too quickly won. Not heard without, the voices cry –
I know – ten thousand thoughts and feelings all as one;
I also know they cannot walk, nor run, away, nor fly.

The city’s children fall to fate – what have I done?
My palaces already burn – contained, consuming rage;
No cannon marks the granite blocks, nor sword nor gun,

To open up a welcome doorway in this cage.
What path do I now take, what narrow course through doubt?
The clamour that you hear – the battle’s final stage,

The whisper from beyond these walls – a screaming shout:
“Will I burn, unseen, unheard – for every force
Will not destroy these stubborn doors, to let me out?

And must I stay restrained here by my own remorse? ”

by David Lewiston Sharpe

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