December 21, 2016
It’s 12 degrees in Bethlehem
right now, a satellite says.
Cold, but not cold enough
to freeze a woman, kill a man,
or icicle a donkey.
But babies are mere hope,
hope wrapped in folds of flesh,
and that needs relief from wind.
Even 12 degrees will bite
a baby with teeth of blue,
suck out crimson hope
faster than any ghoul.
So came a shed, some hay,
the pleasant fug of cattle.
And god, mewling in the grain,
seeding time, forever.
It’s 12 degrees in Bethlehem,
a satellite says, just now.
The funny thing is that when I searched for the weather in Bethlehem, I was first directed to the United States where there’s another place by that name.
Have a wonderful Christmas and see you next year (through my special reverse-blog glasses).
March 28, 2016
Two thousand years (or so)
And so, before this, in Europe,
there were eggs, and celebrations
and the lovely call of Spring?
So what, my dear, so what?
Give me the man
with the steel pierced hands
and the rock rolled back.
Give me blood, and the wine and bread,
the kiss on the cheek
the love of the leper,
and the woman loving too much
he dismissed with equal love.
This is the man;
and always the women
listening and learning (and even teaching),
and mourning, until he came to whisper;
I am faithful and I am here;
always alive and always here.
My Easter, so very old.
My Easter, so very new.
I really don’t know how I managed to post two ginger Jesuses, but I suppose I can pretend that’s one for each thousand years or so.
The poem is based on the type of comment one often reads that points out that Christianity ‘stole’ Easter, and that somehow proves that it has nothing genuine to it. That’s how all human institutions work, through influence and parasitism. Look at the English language, for example! Doesn’t prove or disprove anything about the existence of god, really, the fact that people previously celebrated the arrival of Spring.
I started watching the film The Passion of the Christ recently and found it beyond terrible. I have yet to see a good film about Jesus; perhaps because the words and ideas are the important thing. But a poet would think that, I suppose.
I had a nice time at the coast over Easter, swimming and enjoying the last warmth. Soon Canberra will demand gloves and coats. Which is cool, in terms of being able to flaunt accessories, but miserable in that you actually need them to avoid freezing. The moment where cool meets cold is an unwanted slap of reality.
So there you have it; religion and fashion. Next week: what’s with the outbreak of ugly camel coats and will they squeeze through the eye of a needle?
December 22, 2015
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (from ‘In Memoriam A.H.H.’)
I would have sworn that I had posted this before, but I can’t find it. Doesn’t matter anyway, as it is a lovely piece that deserves frequent reading. The repetition of the word ring is quite remarkable. William Blake is always good, too.
We’re yet to reach the rule of the larger heart or the kindlier hand, and the times seem pretty cold, even here in a very hot Australia. But Christmas is a time to hope for renewal. As is Easter, but let’s not get head of ourselves…
Best wishes to everyone reading, and Merry Christmas from your ex-atheist blogger, as we move towards 2016.
May 25, 2015
Gone in five seconds
And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
Luke 24:11 KJV
So all that spiteful back story erased
by my birth to a woman,
and my walking with women,
and my resurrection revealed to women
and it takes about five seconds
for the old dispensation to reassert itself.
Idle tales; how they will rewrite things
and take the story into their dumb hands
and make idols of themselves
and never learn to listen
and pray, noisily, to a one-eyed God.
So that poem is a bit of a whinge written as if in Christ’s voice. Who saw the resurrected Jesus first varies between the gospels; but it is always a woman or women. And the men don’t trust her or their report. Classic!
Of course, some notable Christian churches still don’t allow women to be priests.* You can’t get rid of poverty unless you see women as fully human, including spiritually. Just sayin’.
And of course, Jesus would have voted yes in Ireland, for all couples to be able to be married, despite the religious conservatives who align themselves, theoretically, with Christianity. Well done you Irish! Love is love.
Now I don’t know if any other Tuesday poets have written on religious themes this week, or feminist ones, or on sexuality or justice. Read the works of the other Tuesday Poets around the world by pressing here. I intend to have a look presently!
*Bizarrely, that includes the Sydney diocese of the Anglican Church, as well as the Catholic Church. Radically freaky stuff!
April 5, 2015
He is risen indeed!
— like Daniel Vettori, one-handed catch,
or Wingard marking like a boofy angel,
or Medhurst steadying before the net,
but with no ageing, no hamstring tweak,
and no second division.
And one day, we will see his face.
Perhaps tomorrow, or Tuesday week.
Now, for benighted foreigners/those from non-cricketing, non-netball, non Australian Rules Football nations (for I hear that such places actually exist):
* Daniel Vettori is a cricketer who plays for New Zealand, who took a spectacular catch on the boundary in a recent World Cup match. I shall say no more about the eventual result of the tournament, although the word ‘plucky’ springs to mind. (Or plucked.)
* Chad Wingard is an AFL (Australian Football League) player who took a fantastic mark playing for Port Adelaide in a match against St Kilda last season. (A mark is where you leap up to catch the ball, often using another player as a fleshy ladder.)
* Natalie Medhurst is a prolific scorer in the Australian netball team, who exemplifies calmness and accuracy under pressure.
The ‘he’ of the title is rumoured to have been born in a non-cricketing, non-netball, non-Aussie Rules playing country. Can this possibly be true? (-: I shall try and understand this as I eat my weight in chocolate.