The Priest of Ballymurphy

A priest I am, and serve the Lamb,
and over miles of road
His way I trod, though poorly shod
to carry such a load.
For there were some would never come
to walk in God’s good name,
and some I knew – though these were few –
would brand that name with shame.

And some I saw that broke the law
and said such words of trust
in Him, I’d think they were the link
between our greed and lust
and Jesus’ love. And some would serve
Him faithfully and right,
and then would curse the Church – and worse –
when their day turned to night.

There came the day I went His way
to help one that was good.
He stopped some children being killed –
they shot him where he stood.
I bent that one soul might repent.
It seems he did not die;
but my own world was struck out, whirled
away. That soul was I.

You Orange-men, you Ulster-men,
you unsure British lads,
I.R.A. guns, admit for once
you carry funeral spades.
Yet it was not a soldier’s shot
that put me underground,
but Ireland’s force, that in its course
turns history around.

You mighty states that rule men’s fates,
and see in vanity
new empires born, see Ireland torn
by Christianity.
What king, whose helpless mind can swing
from good to bad to good –
what working man can sense God’s plan?
Love is not understood.

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