Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

30 May 2011

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es

GOD of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle-line—
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,5
Lest we forget, lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies—
The captains and the kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.10
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!
Far-call'd our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday15
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—20
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust25
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard—
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!30

In my random walkings around St. Clair I would pass "the Hookies," formally known as Rescue Hook & Ladder Fire Company.  Above the front door they have a sign that features the name of a recently deceased member, with the header Lest We Forget.  I didn't know until much later that this was taken from Rudyard Kipling's poem "Recessional," cited above in toto.  This is an appropriate poem for Memorial Day or Any Day.  It reminds us of the Lord, without whose help the builders labor in vain (cf. Psalm 127:1).  It is this blogger's hope that Kipling's noble verse will keep our eye true.

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