The Pagan's Burden

by Evan Robinson after The White Man's Burden by Rudyard Kipling

Take up the Pagan's burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go bind your young for all their life
To serve your planet's need;
To work, in gentle passion,
On foolish folk and worn—
Today's unhappy peoples
Who steal from children yet unborn.

Take up the Pagan's burden—
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of power
And check pollution's tide;
By open life and simple,
An hundred times made plain,
To fore-go any profit
Made from Gaia's pain.

Take up the Pagan's burden—
Stop any wars of peace—
Destroy the beast of Famine,
And bid all sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
(The end for others sought)
Watch corporate greed and folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the Pagan's burden—
No iron rule of kings,
but toil in law and wisdom—
To fix the broken things.
The sense that is not common,
The bribes that others pay,
Go, bring them to the open,
And 'fright them with the day.

Take up the Pagan's burden,
And reap our old reward—
The flames of Times a'Burning,
The hate of those who guard—
The cry of Mother Nature
Who's old and worn with toil.
"Why damage ye your Mother,
Who loves all on her soil?"

Take up the Pagan's burden—
Ye dare not stoop to less—
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness.
By all your will or magic
By all ye have and do
The lives of future ages
Shall weigh your Gods and you.

Take up the Pagan's burden!
Have done with harmful ways—
The oil on the ocean,
Detergent on the waves:
Come now, search your Heavens,
Save Eagles in your skies,
Or we may see them only
in imagination's eyes.

© 1999, Evan Robinson