Speech (For Vincent of Saragossa, Deacon and Martyr)

Vincent spoke on his bishop’s behalf
(For his bishop’s speech was faulting)
And the fervour of his brazen words
Incensed his Roman lord.

Did Vincent die from the truth that rung
In every word he spoke?
Did his God supply the words he said
That pierced the governor’s ears?

God’s reply was silent then;
Diocletian seemed to win.
Yet He swore to give us words
When called before earth’s kings.

My words condemn me; they are loud and shrill
And show the dirt within.
And yet when called to speak the truth,
I find that my speech fails.

God who hears the martyr’s cry,
Who heard all Vincent’s words,
God of the brash and weak alike:
Speak in my defence.

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