For St. Edmund Campion (1540-1581)
They would not let you speak. Sometimes the truth
Must hide; more often it is hid. The right’s
Constrained by circumstance: soft hands with ruth
Sequester it, in priest holes where no light
Wrestles with light, the dark uncomprehending,
Until its weathered hands can grab and seize
Where ruthlessness has leave for its offending,
Past conscience, in the room of Little Ease.
They would not let you speak. Your speaking then
Had opened doors that they must keep well closed:
Wrong answers are inside. Some hiding men
Dwell in a world where questions die, unposed.
But your repose is sweet, your words came good,
Where works speak more than words, on Tyburn’s wood.