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A Repentant Pagan's Lament (Poem)

I learnt in childhood’s days to look to Thee,
O God to look to Thee as all supreme,
A just God and the true, but verily
A harsh, stern being (not the poet’s dream)
They taught me so, and so my childhood's mind,
(That loved the world’s full store of Nature’s joy)
Was filled with fear of Thee and of Thy kind,
I did not love Thee like the other boys,
Thus in my youth a rebel I became.
I did not think of Thee nor look to Thee
Nor ever called upon Thy loving name,
But turned aside to men that suited me,
Nor thought of Thee a guide for life to live,
A loving Father with an outstretched hand.
But sought for all the joys earth had to give,
And found them empty—though they seemed so grand.

But now I come again on bended knee
Knowing I was misled, I was beguiled,
Have found that all that’s good evolves from Thee,
Love perfected and joys all undefiled.
I went to men, I tried their theories,
Their creeds so pleasing to the outward view,
I found them all unstable as the breeze,
I proved them false—and then—God I found you.
I have lost all the faith I had in men,
I am sick of their vain theories of life,
Am tired of the fanciful creeds they pen
In their cold madding sphere of endless strife,

They preach but practice not the same advice,
Preach brotherhood but live for self alone.
And so their empty words did not suffice
The hungry heart and soul of Nature’s son.
I had ideals—but O how vain they were!
I had fond hopes of that which men might be,
I dreamt what they would do, what they would dare,
But it was all in vain, O foolish me!
I thought (because gulled by their high-thought creeds)
That men would dare their all for fellow men.
I dreamt of untold brave, heroic deeds
That never men could picture, or could pen.
But O, I found that but a very few
Had thought for other folk despised, downtrod.
The most of men but took the selfish view,
So now from men to Thee I turn, O God.
I have lost faith in my kind, have proved alas,
That all the passion, pleasure, pomp and power
Of men are false deceivers. What a pass!
So God I come to Thee, at the last hour
I lift mine eyes unto these hills. Thine hills
And see in them the tower of strength Thou art.
To me the flowers, the trees, the rippling rills,
Are tokens of Thy love so great and free,
And now, again, O God, I come to Thee.

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Gunner Launcelot H. Stuckey, B. E. F.

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