Pathos pent, that beard-framed face,
head hand-propped, eyes glow with grace;
old ears strain to hear bright band tunes:
bonnet-hatted lassies on Sunday afternoons,
captain-capped men, soldiers of salvation,
‘Blood and Fire’ proclaimed to many nations.
High brave banners, swear-jostled by mobs,
medals awarded: snot-slimy gobs;
ship-rockets shot, troops tar-baptised,
drunken sinners mock, sermons unwise;
inner-city angels on high alert,
Christ’s love to those lost and hurt.
Denounced, the child-sex slavers,
Victorians re-taught biblical behaviour;
drink much hated, denounced drag of debt,
‘Safety’ replaced the ‘Friendly’ flare threat;
this sorry world grieved, all small hopes,
His mercy painted in big brush strokes.
This godly general, “promoted” after years,
prostitutes and poor wept true-felt tears,
even prim Queen thought right to grieve
so merciful a man, salvation full-believed;
but treasured most the whore’s carnation,
more eloquent than any genteel oration.