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).
November 16, 2016
Faith took a holiday
He hitched down the Hume, or up;
he didn’t tell me. Faith has no fear
of murder, or everyday sleazes
and their boring imprecations.
It’s the ones left behind
who tend to fret. What if,
we say, and perhaps…
as if perhaps isn’t Faith
flipped like a decisive coin,
standing on his head.
As if as if isn’t
closer to for sure
than some might like it to be.
Faith rang me from Melbourne,
(so it was down the Hume)
and said he wanted to look around
a bit longer; catch the trams.
He too remembers
the excellent days of conductors,
with their magical brown bags.
Even Faith feels regret
at the passing of old days;
the spinning of so much
towards the expansive sun
of interconnected drivel.
There is a grace
in not knowing too much,
he said, though Faith would say that,
I suppose. That’s his job.
A kind of conductor
unseen in any tram,
on any route, whatsoever.
Faith will return soon;
I can hear the jingling
just at the edge of thought
and the tune is one
I almost remember.
The brown bag of my
restless, overloaded brain
awaits his presence,
and will sling itself, eager,
over his patient arm.
Like a lot of the world, I’m suffering the post-US election blues, and almost didn’t post this week. The clever amongst you will have noticed that it is Wednesday, not Tuesday, and the weekly schedule has been disrupted. But poetry is fairly unstoppable!
For my overseas readers, the Hume is the major highway linking Melbourne and Sydney. Canberra is just a wee drive from it.
I have no idea why Faith is male in the poem. Perhaps it was some association with Christ? And my phone has just died, which has me longing for the ‘interconnected drivel’ which I decry in the poem, even if I’m avoiding news sites at the moment.
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!
December 22, 2011
I’ve posted this poem before on this blog, but here it is again as I wanted to have something for Christmas. I would now describe myself as an agnostic, rather than an atheist, as I was when I wrote this poem. I sometimes picture Jesus as a ninja, waiting to leap out on unsuspecting rationalists. (That’s not him above, that’s Jacob with an angel, by Louis Bonnat.)
We’ll see where I am by next Christmas!
First published in ‘The Mozzie’, Queensland.
The atheist at Christmas
Yes, I wish for more, more than these tottering temples,
these building blocks of presents under this most
European plastic tree, dropping leaves unseasonably.
If only it were possible, to unwrap belief, to kiss it quick
like an unexpected guest under mistletoe’s sharply
convenient hangover marriage.
But God is an idea too far, too gaudy, too stuffed,
fills a void of longing with crumbs unreasonably.
The brain must talk turkey, (or mouth gobble on).
Faith desire shines each new born December,
but frail batteries barely make month’s end.
By then it will have broken down.
And then be gone.