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I heard that Heaven was bright and fair,
And politicians dwelt not there.
'Twas said by knowing ones that they
Were in the Elsewhere--so to say.
So, waking from my last long sleep,
I took my place among the sheep.
I passed the gate--Saint Peter eyed
Me sharply as I stepped inside.
He thought, as afterward I learned,
That I was Chris, the Unreturned.
The new Jerusalem--ah me,
It was a sorry sight to see!
The mansions of the blest were there,
And mostly they were fine and fair;
But O, such streets!--so deep and wide,
And all unpaved, from side to side!
And in a public square there grew
A blighted tree, most sad to view.
From off its trunk the bark was ripped--
Its very branches all were stripped!
An angel perched upon the fence
With all the grace of indolence.
"Celestial bird," I cried, in pain,
"What vandal wrought this wreck? Explain."
He raised his eyelids as if tired:
"What is a Vandal?" he inquired.
"This is the Tree of Life. 'Twas stripped
By Durst and Siebe, who have shipped
"The bark across the Jordan--see?--
And sold it to a tannery."
"Alas," I sighed, "their old-time tricks!
That pavement, too, of golden bricks--
"They've gobbled that?" But with a scowl,
"You greatly wrong them," said the fowl:
"'Twas Gilleran did that, I fear--
Head of the Street Department here."
"What! what!" cried I--"you let such chaps
Come here? You've Satan, too, perhaps."
"We had him, yes, but off he went,
Yet showed some purpose to repent;
"But since your priests and parsons filled
The place with those their preaching killed"--
(Here Siebe passed along with Durst,
Psalming as if their lungs would burst)--
"He swears his foot no more shall press
('Tis cloven, anyhow, I guess)
"Our soil. In short, he's out on strike--
But devils are not all alike."
Lo! Gilleran came down the street,
Pressing the soil with broad, flat feet!
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