The National Catholic Review

Bull at a gate in the garden, Peter’s out
With a stubby blade, and slashes in the dark
At the nearest of the looming figures—a lout,
And a slave with it, obedient to the bark

Of the officer bloke, to whom he’s a waste of space,
Named though he is for a king. And now it’s first
Blood to the partisans of peace in the race
To the hooked wood, the dangling and the thirst.

The stuff that crusted where the severed ear
Had been returned stayed with him through the night
And half of bloody Friday. He could hear
As well as ever, though he made a sight

For his mates to see while he talked about the stroke
And how the man commanded when he spoke.

Peter Steele, S.J. is a distinguished professor at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and has been a visiting professor at Georgetown University.

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