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This brood of vipers, fleeing from the coming fall,
are torn between the need they own, and the fee
they charge to get there. They wear their gifts for all
to see, these would-be limbs on Abraham’s tree.
The ax still takes its toll, to any pardoner’s roots.
The winnowing fork is working His hands, He clears
the threshing floor. No man of words, His shoots
produce or else they burn in the fires they hear.
But see! Their own feet betray them; their coming is praise
enough! Good Mercy who paints in such broad strokes,
whose music moves these icy spheres, these brazen
barristers, have on us, cover our sins with your cloak.
Though Mercy contains it, Justice can walk alone.
We go in twos and survive Him, stone on stone.
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