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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
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Back Stage

Published by Webmaster on 07/30/2003 (2295 reads)
To celebrate Ascension Day

Back Stage

To celebrate Ascension Day
Six innocents are sacrificed.
In churches all the morn we pray,
Then in the afternoon we slay
Six bulls as advertised.

And as from the arena I
slip to escape the crowd,
Five dead bulls on the flag-stones lie,
And as the sixth goes down to die
The cheers are overloud.

But by the bulls two horses wait,
And one is brown, one grey.
Yet for the bulls they have no hate;
Blood-laquered from their sorry fate
Two bags of bones are they.

Yet each ten times I saw heaved high
In that mob-frenzied hell,
And with each toss amazed was I
To see they did not drop and die
From that red rituel.

But no, they have survived the fray,
Its glory and its thrill.
Their harness has been put away;
Patient they wait next Sabbath day
Their sewn-up guts to spill.

I tender sugar in my hand:
They sniff - and then a boy
Gives each a blow . . . They understand
That callous language in a land
Where cruelty is joy.

But how nest Sunday I should smile
As morning Mass I take,
To see them shamble up the aisle
And at the alter kneel awhile
                                For Jesus sake!


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