‘Tis We Must Beat Back Suffering

Why Don’t He Lend a Hand

You say there is a God
Above the boundless sky,
A wise and wondrous deity
Whose strength none can defy.

You say that he is seated
Upon a throne most grand,
Millions of angels at his beck—
Why don’t he lend a hand?

See how the earth is moaning,
What countless tears are shed,
See how the plague stalks forward
And brave and sweet lie dead.

Homes burn and hearts are breaking,
Grim murder stains the land;
You say he is omnipotent—
Why don’t he lend a hand?

Behold, injustice conquers;
Pain curses every hour;
The good and true and beautiful
Are trampled like the flower.

You say he is our father,
That what he wills doth stand;
If he is thus almighty
Why don’t he lend a hand?

What is this monarch doing
Upon his golden throne,
To right the wrong stupendous,
Give joy instead of moan?

With his resistless majesty,
Each force at his command,
Each law his own creation—
Why don’t he lend a hand?

Alas! I fear he’s sleeping,
Or is himself a dream,
A bubble on thought’s ocean,
Our fancy’s fading gleam.

We look in vain to find him
Upon his throne so grand,
Then turn your vision earthward—
‘Tis we must lend a hand.

‘Tis we must grasp the lightning.
And plow the rugged soil;
‘Tis we must beat back suffering,
And plague and murder foil;

‘Tis we must build the paradise
And bravely right the wrong;
The god above us faileth,
The god within is strong.

-Samuel Porter Putnam, from Four Hundred Years of Freethought (1890)

Reposted from here.


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