Category Archives: poems about religion

Gratitude

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Thanks Be to Pure Hearts

 Thanks be to that creator of the universe—
the one I can no longer pray to in a church
because of those powers who take truth prisoner
and lead the masses to be whoever can be most safely trusted
to surrender reason to those powers.

Thanks be to that man who turned water into wine.
Not a teetotaler. Not even abstinent, or so some say.
That man who loved all and who would not strike anyone
except for merchants making a living from the church.
Two thousand years ago,
he saw that merchants and moneylenders
would lead the world wrong—
using the little minds of frightened men
to turn faith into a weapon.

Praise be to those at the beginning of it all
who tried to set a true course but made the mistake
of leaving the compass in the hands of human fools
who saw, over all, how to use it for their own glory,
making power their god and oiling their way upward
not toward salvation
but toward ever higher places in this world.

Those who are not fools might speak our enemies’ names
yet be shouted down by those
Dunning and Kruger have named as their adjutants—
the countless mindless who speed the world toward ruin.

Yet for this day, I want to turn my back on those I’d rather curse
to thank pure hearts who still can see the way.
There is still, I know, a part of them in all of us,
evident in everyday things: a mother’s sheltering arms
or in as simple an act as taking the smallest piece of pie.

So when we give thanks today,
thank those who remain kind within the world,
carrying along the spirit
of those first beneficent acts
that started with the dust of stars
and from it created consciousness
and then implanted some good turn of will
so as to give hope in a world
that feels divided in the blackness of the universe,
lonely in this night
but steered by those pinpricks in its cover
through which light shows, even in the darkest dark.

 

This is a rewrite of a poem written three years ago. The prompt today is gratitude.

An Agnostic’s (Creed?) Query

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An Agnostic’s Creed Query

Who knows, in the end,
what will be good fortune, what folly?
We make our choices, take our chances,
drawing straws that synchronicity turns long
or misfortune cuts in two.
One person’s good luck
is another’s ruin—
life, perhaps, being the biggest lottery
while the lord of games sits above
in his windowed cage, viewing the results
of his design. The wheel? Blind luck,
but part of some larger mechanism
rigged to keep the house functioning
for purposes that the faithful, those addicted to the game,
repeat like a litany, still pulling the slot handle, sorting the cards,
assuring themselves, over and over,
that they are taken into account.

 

 

The prompt today was “folly.”

Tree of Faith

Tree of Faith

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Please click on the first photo below to enlarge and read captions that explain the pieces.

For any of these creations, I could be beheaded in Saudi Arabia. Then crucified for the poem. This holy examination of self is not tolerated in some countries, or by certain factions of our own. This is what we are trying to guard against in a democracy, but its guarantee in our constitution is not, evidently, a given.  It must be fought for over and over again. That open eye of the Madonna was never more called for in our country.

This poem and these retablos are dedicated to   Ashraf  Fayadh.  Please click on the below link if you doubt the veracity of what I say above or if you want to see an example of why it is so important for us to continue to embrace diversity in thought , faith and culture:
https://thegadabouttown.com/2016/12/10/speak-out-for-ashraf-fayadh/

The prompt word today was “mystical.”

 

We Seem Meant to Argue

We Seem Meant to Argue

We seem meant to argue, to disagree and fuss––
to call each other s.o.b.’s, to blather on and cuss.
Somehow the world needs movement––the hurricanes and tides.
In every situation, there must be clans or sides.
There is a natural movement toward the pack or cult or gang.
Each game needs an opponent, and every yin a yang.

It may be named a congregation, a party or a cause,
but still there will be discord. There always is, because
there is something within us that draws us towards division.
Every peace march draws its crowd screaming in derision.
Some force within the universe that knows the whole of it
has decreed that everything has its opposite.

So though we may crave unity and hope one day to coin
accord between the nations, and for hearts and minds to join,
the truth is that the universe is like a pendulum.
For every radical event, the opposite will come.
if we just wait long enough, it will be peace’s turn,
but in the meantime hate will pillage, conquer, rape and burn
.
We would have it otherwise, but hope won’t make it so.
We may unite in nations, but we’ll still go toe to toe:
nation versus nation, like street gangs in a rumble.
The most sincere peace accord eventually will crumble.
Mere wishing will not bring on peace, but we can make a start
simply by appealing to that attitude of heart

that chooses to forget and start that upward swing
that can pull the whole world with it as it takes to wing.
The answer to the hatred is to start out one-by-one
to try to make the choices to set discord on the run.
To choose the dark sides of ourself is an act of treason.
We must conquer our own petty hates and choose to live by reason.

Today’s prompt is “Argument.”

God’s Assembly Place

God’s Assembly Place

Leaving the Masons’ Lodge behind,
there was Mrs. Shimer’s cool dark little house
and the grade school slides to pass,
then spirea bushes to pull the petals from
before I reached the mysterious brick church
nestled in trees across from the lumber yard.

The sign said “Assembly of God.”
Everyone else said, “holy rollers and speakers in tongues,”
but they threw the best Bible school of the summer.
My mom let me attend them all: Lutheran,
Community Bible, Seven Day Adventist, Assembly of God
and our own Church––Methodist.

The Community Bible Church called us Jet Cadets
who made progress through the skies
by attendance and memorizing Bible verses.
The Methodists had the best art supplies,
but the Assembly of God
had that aura of mystery–
as though God had assembled us all there for a special purpose.

Because I had heard what went on there
when I wasn’t present,
I was the Nancy Drew of vacation Bible school,
looking fruitlessly for clues
as I made do with Kool Aid,
peanut butter cookies and
mimeographed pictures of Bible stories to color.

Then every day, the short walk home again
through that bridal path of spilled spirea blossoms,
with faith that tomorrow
religion just might turn into that great adventure
that I knew I was born to.

Thanks Whimsygizmo for leading me to this prompt with your wonderful poem. Readers, if you want to participate in the Writer’s Digest prompts, find them here:
Poetic Asides