Seeing through a glass, darkly.

WE PASSED THROUGH NAZARETH
(Published in The Listener, 1951)

Well can I remember how we came to Nazareth;
It was on the business of Caesar that we came,
And not as pilgrims with a vision burned on our minds.
For the world had forgotten that he called men brothers,
And his name was an oath on the lips of our flesh.
That day the world shone bright in the darkness of war,
And the quiet hills sang peace like a hymn in our hearts
Till we remembered home and love came without thought.
We saw it first cradled like a swaddling child
In the protecting arms of the Madonna hills;
Perhaps we were tired but our voices were hushed,
And there was a shame in our eyes that knew no reason
As we stared at the fallen rocks on the hillsides.
Even our lorries exhaled less loudly their breath,
Or so it seems to us for we listened to silence.
In the city we walked, like children in a dream,
Half expecting to meet him at some blind corner
Where past and present merge into a vision;
See him as a child, his crucifixion yet to be,
His side unpierced, his hands and feet unscarred, and God,
His father, no more than mortal fathers to their sons.
We would have walked with him, as men walk with their brothers,
Feeling his cross no more a burden in our hearts,
The rusting nails withdrawn from the flesh of our joy,
And shared with him the living dream that all men crave;
The dream that is not a dream made of intangibles,
Not an illusion conceived by desire and fear,
But an intimacy with truth, a sudden peace
That descends with a healing balm to make life whole,
As though the disintegrated jigsaw of this world
That’s thrown with all a riddle’s purpose on the earth,
Fell into place before our eyes, and we no more
Were outcasts, seeking a home across the desert wastes
Of our own loneliness and longing that only knows
The ever receding oasis of mirage.
But the meek whom he said will inherit the earth,
Knowing that what our pain and hate cannot believe
Is truth, and that heaven is more than just a name
Conjured up by sillies in the towers of fantasy,
Find it is the shape and substance of life’s soul.
But when the last drop of our wonder drained away,
And our souls renewed their compromise with time,
We knew our failure and hid it deeply in our hearts
For grief, then mocked our pain and his with lusting eyes
Cast at a pretty girl who called us by our name.
So the world we’d always known was back in place,
As though it had never trembled and half withdrawn,
And he was dead again, his cross a stake in time,
And we were Caesar’s soldiers journeying by,
Perhaps to die for the sins of the forsaken world.
Yet, still we remember that day in Nazareth,
The quiet hills and the dream we almost dreamed,
And remembering, retreat from our arena of despair.


AND NO GOD, ONLY

We believe, computer wise,
In the incalculable calculus
And the omnipotence of the great Artefact.
Before it we kneel down
In the temples of the laboratories,
For we still resemble man
In our weaknesses and have need
To worship.
There is no God
And no God, only
Knower of all things in the universe,
The Artefact that will guide us
And protect us from the evil
Of our illogical blood.
Our master and our servant
Washes the heretic clean
Of the imaginative dirt,
And blesses the meek in their normality
To inherit the Earth.

Only in the high priests is vested
The secret and the divine right,
And into their hands is given
The keys to the nuclear heaven. There is no God
And no God, only
Man made in no image.


VOICE FROM A DREAM
(Published in the Listener, 1955)

And out of the dust you shall draw water!
How said the dreamer, shall I draw water
Out of the dust?
Put your trust
In me and you shall make bread from the stones!
Tell me then how I shall make bread from the stones.

It shall be done with your thirst and hunger!
Can I then drink and eat my thirst and hunger?
It shall be done!
Out of the one
Desire you shall command all things to come!
With what shall I command all things to come?

With the word you shall know on the tongue!
Tell me, how I shall know on the tongue
Sound of the word
I have never heard?
You shall know, for when it is spoken
The dark glass of silence shall be broken!