I’m not sure this is it in final, but as I just told a friend, poetry is nothing if not full of variants. (As I’m sure all the poets of the Bible full well knew.) So, call this version 1 if you like; I’ll see if there are any others.
No Questions, Questions
The man, smug in his pulpit,
has no questions.
He never has questions
except the rhetorical
question always followed
by his ready knowing answer read
from the book at his right hand:
the book at the right hand of God,
the book — the right hand of the judge
who judges the quick and the dead
to damn whoever fits
the words of his ready
answers read from that book.
I have questions…
What makes one so certain?
How does one live inside a closed book
behind closed doors in a windowless room
surrounded by a great great wall
blocking off all the horizons,
everything known, counted, familiar?
How does one live on a flat, flat Earth,
a horizonless planet where nothing new
ever walks, is seen, is encountered?
How does one breathe there?
How does one breathe where there are only
two kinds of people, the damned and the damning? —
and the smug man in his pulpit smiles,
knowing himself as the latter,
casting the former to flames,
smiling to serve such a God
who made things this way.
Somewhere beyond a horizon
on a round Earth set among stars
crafted by illimitable god,
I catch my breath.
Melissa S. Green
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
My first brand-spanking new poem in awhile. Inspired by — hard to guess, innit? Same place, same circumstances, same ideologues — just a different year — as what drew “Sermon” out of me in 1992. Most of this was written yesterday on People Mover bus #36 during the long construction-interfered-with journey from UAA to the Loussac Library. Tip o’ the nib to James P. Carse whose The Religious Case Against Belief has been a necessary friend these past months.