Of Charity, by Arthur Symons

Of Charity

A beggar died last night; his soul
Went up to God, and said:
"I come uncalled, forgive it, Lord;
I died for want of bread."   Then answered him the Lord of heaven:
"Son, how can this thing be?
Are not my saints on earth? And they
Had surely succoured thee."   "Thy saints, O Lord, " the beggar said,
"Live holy lives of prayer;
How should they know of such as we?
We perish unaware.   "They strive to save our wicked souls
And fit them for the sky;
Meanwhile, not having bread to eat,
(Forgive!) our bodies die."   Then the Lord God spake out of heaven
In wrath and angry pain:
"O men, for whom my Son hath died,
My Son hath lived in vain!"

poems.one - Arthur Symons

Arthur Symons