by Luis G. Dato
This be our anguished prayer this x’mas day —
May God our country save in disarray,
May the good Lord who made the nations free,
Our bondage end, return our liberty!
For freedom, Lord, it is a priceless thing,
That thou hast given, not the Czar or king,
Without it, useless would it be to live,
This the free men of all the world believe.
Priceless we realize it more when lost,
Which e’er should be defended at all cost
In treasure, toil and throe and even life
Itself, to immolate in mortal strife.
O liberty, how dear you are to those
Who languish in dark prisons with your loss!
Complaining not in their unmeasured pain,
Hoping against hope to see you back again,
Deathless, in glory radiant you appear,
A light perennial of our earthly sphere,
A torch to all the nations to inspire
That not in vain for you they may aspire.
These years, however, woe writ on your face.
On threadbare raiment blood Time won’t efface,
Straggler you wander cast from your abode,
Eyes skyward raised imploring aid from God.
O Lord we pray thee, stay the ruthless hand
That power usurps affrighting our fair land,
The wage of infamy let tyrants know,
O Lord, and mercy to thy people show!
— Luis G. Dato
December 17, 1975