The Meeting-Place

A poem by William Arthur Dunkerley

(A Warning)

I saw my fellows
In Poverty Street,--
Bitter and black with life's defeat,
Ill-fed, ill-housed, of ills complete.
And I said to myself,--
"Surely death were sweet
To the people who live in Poverty Street."

I saw my fellows
In Market Place,--
Avid and anxious, and hard of face,
Sweating their souls in the Godless race.
And I said to myself,--
"How shall these find grace
Who tread Him to death in the Market Place?"

I saw my fellows
In Vanity Fair,--
Revelling, rollicking, debonair,
Life all a Gaudy-Show, never a care.
And I said to myself,--
"Is there place for these
In my Lord's well-appointed policies?"

I saw my fellows
In Old Church Row,--
Hot in discussion of things High and Low,
Cold to the seething volcano below.
And I said to myself,--
"The leaven is dead.
The salt has no savour. The Spirit is fled."

I saw my fellows
As men and men,--
The Men of Pain, and the Men of Gain,
And the Men who lived in Gallanty-Lane.
And I said to myself,--
"What if those should dare
To claim from these others their rightful share?"

I saw them all
Where the Cross-Roads meet;--
Vanity Fair, and Poverty Street,
And the Mart, and the Church,--when the Red Drums beat,
And summoned them all to The Great Court-Leet.
And I cried unto God,--
"Now grant us Thy grace!"

* * * * *

For that was a terrible Meeting-Place.

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