The Covering

Our eyes looked down, when they should have looked up
As though a pall could send the sun away
Of sleeping birds we know quite well enough —
A cloth of darkness like the night from day;
A child’s own thought of existing in fear —
A game of peek-a-boo with your two hands
Of children each pretends he understands
A veil cannot make a face disappear;
And who would light a lamp to cover its light?
And who would grant a sight to remove that sight?
So he who still has ears now let him hear —
That virtue goes not quietly into the night;

When shame is cover’d we call it “to forgive”–
Injustice let for love then, “to forbear”;
But now to cover virtue while it lives
To put the darkling first before the fair?
so crease upon each crease the wind dares lift
of cloth that mocks the dear old general’s face
and crimes already forgiven in this place
remain forgotten, God’s own priceless gift;
Is God concealed when He is in a cup?
Was death forgetfulness of Him enough?
Old Damocles’ great sword begins to shift–
Our eyes looked down, when they should have looked up.

Image by Matthew Fall McKenzie @MatthewTheStoat.

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