Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I don't know if this is a better poem. It reads better than the original, and is less tedious - I've included some images and varied the measure - but I don't think it's working the way I want it to work just yet.

Gach! Here 'tis:


He's tall in his pew, this ladding man:
his eyes are constant, blue beneath
a buzz of hair, soft as the sins
the preacher warns him about. He listens

with concentrations of lines embossed
faintly around the edge of lips
wasted on kissing: they want to worship
God - his God - with shapes and sounds.

"... this evil works by magic. Look!
It moves by curse to curse and teach
a lesson. God can not be bought
by sinners praying. God will not

"forgive the hateful sodomites
their lecheries, nor welcome home
the scum who rip the innocents
from wombs. For God will not forgive ..."
An image of fire curls in the eye
of the lad in his pew, a fire to take
the snoring congregation out
of their comfort, sloth. Redeem their souls

like the preacher riding his pulpit now:
a stallion galloping across the hills;
a trawler hauling fish from the storm;
a martyr thanking the Lord for his tortures.

"... that we atone for Adam's sin,
forsake our knowledge, learning; start
afresh, become as pure as steel
and sharp as swords. That we become

"His instruments to cut away
the cancer - slice the sins from flesh
to heal the people, strip apart
the souls of Idolators fit

"to clean them, make them fit for His
inspection. Nothing less will do!
The world is sick and we must make
it better! God will love us then!"
His fingers grip and bend the book
and his knees are locked: he will not bow
to worship - God demands he cleanse
his life; he knows the world must burn.

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