White privilege

Perhaps I might dedicate this post to the PM and all his coalition mates.

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Will he find faith on earth?

The Almighty,
according to this parable,
interpreted by one, Jesus,
who is also called God’s son,
grants justice to those who seek it.
Whatever that means.
We could do with a bit more justice.
For refugees and asylum seekers,
women who are beaten,
children who are abused;
innocent victims
of air attacks,
lax gun laws,
racial bigotry, misogeny, and religious fear;
not to mention capitalism’s excesses,
corrupt politicians
and dishonest jurists.
Like the judge in the parable.

We who seek justice, this story declares,
are encouraged to cry out day and night
to the aforesaid Almighty.
I might quietly suggest
that such crying out,
railing against such a raft of injustices,
loudly, persistently and annoyingly,
might in fact be the inconvenient duty
of all who follow Jesus.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Haiku for the sixth of August (and one for the ninth)

Haiku for the sixth of August:

On Hiroshima
the fiery cloud descended,
burning day to night.

 

And one for the ninth:

As if the first one
brought insufficient sorrow;
Nagasaki, too.

 

© Ken Rookes 2015

I posted these for Hiroshima Day 2015, and thought I’d repost them for this year.

Silenced

In the fears and uncertainties of first century Jewish politics
an insecure monarch lusts after the niece
who also doubles as his step-daughter.
At a birthday banquet,
the girl entices the gathered dignitaries
with a dance.
Arousing, provocative,
teasing and taunting;
she knows how to shake it.

In the old man’s fantasy foolishness
half a kingdom is offered
as the prize for his pleasant titillation.
A prophet’s head,
severed from its outspoken owner’’s body
and proffered upon a platter,
is the price prescribed
by the girl’s vengeful mother.

A king’s self-importance is never a small thing.
His ego expands even further
in the presence of multiple weighty witnesses;
the offending voice will be silenced.
For good.

It’s been all about power, lust, politics, pride, and retribution.
Between them, over the next two millennia and beyond,
these evils will account for the larger part
of the world’s pain and sorrow.

During that time other offensive voices will be raised
and many will be silenced.
But an outrageous few will recklessly persist
so that the kingdom,
the kingdom grounded in love and truth and sacrifice
will come;
one day,
as promised.

 

© Ken Rookes 2015

Betrayal

In 1915 numerous sons
and a few daughters embarked on ships
to participate in a war.
We grew up saluting the flag on Mondays,
and hearing, each April.
the stories of war.
Ours was a young nation, proud, defiant, fearless;
born, we were told, in blood, on the battlefields
and in the trenches of Turkey, Belgium and France.
We heard of courage, larrikin resourcefulness,
and compassion.
These brave soldiers were injured, traumatised and died,
the grand myth attests,
for us, and for our freedom.
We honoured their sacrifice;
remembering, too, those who served in later conflicts.

A century later
the stories become a celebratory avalanche;
while dignitaries and politicians make their preparations
to assemble at Anzac Cove. There they will glory in the moment.
The legendary spirit, however, has become elusive,
betrayed by a nation that has become afraid to love
and by its even more fearful leaders.
Back in this fortunate land, desperate people,
whose only crime was to come seeking refuge,
are, for political convenience,
denied the same freedom so fiercely defended by our forebears.
They are sent off-shore, to be imprisoned behind wire fences
and within an officially sanctioned conspiracy of silence.
For convenience. And for shame.
It is a costly convenience;
in more ways than one.

©Ken Rookes 2015

Getting away with it

Wandering around
on the fringes of respectability
and caring nothing for the good regard
of the religious establishment,
Jesus pulled a ‘Pussy Riot’ protest
in the sacred precincts of the temple.
He left behind a chaos of coins and cattle,
upturned tables,
and a whip of cords.

He seemed to have gotten away with it.
They didn’t arrest him,
or throw him, Baptist-like, into prison;
things eventually settled down.
The teacher got on with his unorthodox life,
roving the land in his capacity
as a no-fixed-address itinerant,
outrageously telling it like it was.

Those in authority,
the Chief Priests and the others,
played it cool.
They righted the tables,
rounded up the livestock,
and gathered together the discarded cords.
These they plaited into rope enough;
and waited for the moment.
The arrest, incarceration,
and much worse,
would come.

 

 

© Ken Rookes 2015.