Praying with pathos, that beard-framed face,
head hand-propped, eyes aglow with grace;
deaf ears strain for those bright band tunes:
mixed-gender apostles media-lampooned;
marching pacifists, soldiers of salvation:
‘Blood and Fire’ proclaimed to many nations.
Brave banners snatched by brawling mobs,
medals duly awarded: snot-slimy gobs;
ship-rockets shot, heads tar-baptised,
drunken sinners mock, curses unwise;
inner-city angels march on high alert,
Christ’s love to sinners, the lost and hurt.
Booth denounced the child-sex slavers,
Victorians were taught biblical behaviour;
drink he hated, denounced the drag of debt,
‘Safety’ replaced ‘Friendly’ match-flare threat;*
this sorry world grieved all its small hopes,
God’s mercy painted in big red brush strokes.
God’s general “promoted” after work-worn years,
prostitutes and tenement poor wept true-felt tears,
(even Queen Victoria thought it right to grieve)
- so merciful a man, salvation fully believed;
God treasured most the whore’s coffin carnation,
such empathy more eloquent than any oration.