Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Moral Christian

With appreciation to William Blake

The Moral Christian cries ‘I know it all’
& there his Soul takes her Fall.
For, when Jesus comes with compass wide
& measure's him by his own Soul's pride,
Then he shall utterly be lost
& on Pride's torment be tossed.

Why were Adam & Eve from Eden cast?
Have we learned naught from our past?
T’was not from Knowledge, but from its desire
That the Angel was sent with sword of fire.

Jesus died for our sins, not our minds
Yet today I often find
Those who crucify their mind for his sake
& of Moral Commandments partake.

Say as you please, these
Are like the Pharisees:
Cruel lawyers who chose
To have their faith in neat rows
Of firm commandments, unchanging Laws
Which never was the Master's cause.
God's Love they would enumerate
& with a compass draw its boundary
& thus they seal their fate
As they pass judgement on me.

Does not God's Love speak to each Heart
In its own tongue? Are we not all part
Of the Holy Ghost, who lives in every soul
That we may be alive & whole?

The true Saints are those
Who heed their Holy Ghost
As She reveals that Love
Proper for each moment. Love
Is not fixed as is Moral Law —
Love is superior by far.

Love changes with each changing face
& so spreads, to save our race.

Some would call it sympathy,
But that is not the word for me;
‘God is Love,’ I sang as a child
And only now is its meaning revealed.

This is the Revolution I seek most:
When each Heart & Soul heeds its Holy Ghost.

I sent my poetic postcard to Sam yesterday. In a back channel e-mail, I described it thus:
The text is something of an etude; which is to say, a little study or practice toward some sense of meter. I started with a line - inspired by my Photoshop trickery with the pics of DJ and clover - and tried to maintain a regular rhythm and (semi) regular rhyme from there. Not much of a plot; perhaps a couple of interesting images. Otherwise, trying to rediscover word music.
For some reason, this reminded me of another time I just wrote for rhythm and rhyme. The result, as you see, is the mirror-image of those awful didactic moralistic Christian poems preserved on certain greetings cards, and the Chicken Soup(®) books.

As the dedication indicates, I had been reading quite a bit of Blake's rhyming verse. His notebooks are full of doggerel-like etudes. They are equally full of flashes of brilliance and insight. My guess is I was steeped in things like “Auguries of Innocence” and “The Everlasting Gospel” when I wrote this. I would never claim that this measures up to even the least of Blake's doggerel. I'm just admitting that his rhythm and rhyme were bouncing in my head as I wrote it.

I will say that my theology has not changed much since I wrote this. I still believe that, when our life closes, we will measure ourselves by the same compass we have used when judging others. The plumb-line, to use the Old Testament figure, will be how much we have loved; not how much we have judged.

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