All around us,
elusive butterflies of different hues
catching the light and reflecting it
in rainbow colours, flashing
as they flap their delicate wings.
From shade into brightness
and back into the shadows they flutter;
persistently present, fragile.
Tears and generosity,
humility, sacrifice, and discomforting truth,
these things; born out of love,
and vulnerable. Like god.
They dance, unconstrained,
through the dappled sunlight,
all around us, (and within);
keep your eyes upon them.
On the day when Jesus
strolled down to the Jordan
to meet with John and to be baptised,
the heavens, it is said, were torn apart.
They’ve been tearing apart ever since,
not just with Jesus,
who was outrageous enough;
some of those who came after him
have ripped things up a bit, too.
They broke laws, defied the powers
and governments, and challenged
the fearful and loveless status quo.
Here are some of the outcomes;
torn from the heavenly interface
like squares from yesterday’s newspaper
and layered with earth’s paste
as they are fashioned into something new
A papier-mâche new creation, disturbing,
defiant, and more than a little foolish;
it is flimsy and fragile,
a vulnerable reliquary
of sacred hope.
We have replaced the perishable wreaths
with bags of gold,
and with shining medals,
and plates and cups of silver and crystal.
These reflect loudly the applied light,
demanding to be polished
as they slowly capture dust
on shelves and in glass cases.
The heroes of field, track and arena
are lauded and celebrated;
while celebrity becomes their greatest achievement.
Yet this too will pass
the ephemeral silverware and all the rest;
even the undimmed glow of the gold
will one day lie forgotten,
beneath earth’s dust.
Empty, and yet abundant,
profoundly connected, deeply alone.
Torn and bleeding,
humble, hoping, defiant,
having nothing to do
with honours and earthly reward;
for all who compete
this imperishable wreath.
He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.
God is idle, declares the small white badge
purchased from the NGV
after viewing an exhibition of contemporary art.
In spite of the confident declaration
of the ancient prophet,
I find myself forced to agree.
The god who intervenes in human affairs
giving power to the faint and strengthening the powerless,
appears to have gone missing.
Who has less power
than those who cross hazardous seas
in nervous wooden boats;
fearful, fleeing; seeking, pleading
for refuge and compassion?
Their anxieties compound, multiplying
behind iron gates and barbed wire.
They cry out in desperation, but god
and the bastard gaoler politicians
who pretend to serve him,
neither hear nor act.
We can only hope
that there might be another god,
human-shaped, bleeding, weeping;
whose spirit resides in at least a few faithful hearts.
Perhaps this god is listening;
perhaps the servants of this god
have open ears,
and are not idle.