(written over several Easters around the events of the Iraq-Kuwait-Allied forces war, jury service at Harrow Crown Court and the Spring Harvest Easter Celebration at Butlin’s, Minehead)
Is this the death wish?
We go to war with the bloody whore,
spend a hundred billion, and destroy far more,
kill a hundred thousand, mainly theirs, dead,
and widows cry alone in bed.
Houses are flat, power stations still,
a stunning victory, full of goodwill,
guns for oil and oil for a gun.
Why did Jesus suffer and harm no-one?
Is this the death wish?
the life untenable on other terms
than curtain down? setting its face
into the sunset, flaming heroics?
No media mediator, the last reel,
road end with lump in throat,
but detailed care for friends, mother,
enemies, deliberate death
by murderers identified and faced
We are not lost, being in the wrong place.
Our location is correct with respect to the rest
of creation, but we are lost
on Oxford Street or in Trafalgar Square.
Where will the West End, young man?
Oh, taxi, take me to the Square;
I want a pigeon sitting in my hair,
and all directions take me everywhere.
Please do not tell me I’m already there.
God does not need to think big, being
equally at home with large and small.
Thunder and palaces are a bit infra-dig
when you have made the whole show anyway.
What you say carries weight, hey, gravity,
just because you are God, whether
anybody listens or not. Why
would people not listen to God?
They must have something on their minds,
or want him to shout, or think big,
or work to a different agenda.
Are you whispering, God,
or should we turn the radio down
and cup, cup, cup our ears.
London commuters go to work
and rock with roll of train,
develop skills, enjoy a perk,
drop eyes and home again.
Homes eat the bodies; TVs start;
advertisements sell food,
which end as a domestic fart,
So busy people fill their homes,
with shopping, DIY.
The washing up bowl gently foams;
they grow alone and die.
The black cloud hangs over the land and
is called victory. Those who do
not know defeat, own goal cheers. Here’s
the firework sound of nation celebration
while deathblood flows, foe’s woes.
Important people manufacture praise; PA’s glaze.
The stratosphere of lies, flies, defies
the gravity of the situation.World leaders grave pave
the road to hell with good intent, bent.
The black cloud hangs heavy over the land and
God cries with heavy rain, pain.
Defeat for humankind, signed unkind
Us, again, again.
Now know a holy fear before your God,
the great Provider, good and wholly true,
the purest crystal, leaf and droplet Lord,
who makes with care the lepidoptera,
creation’s loving user friendliness.
The darkness dwells within, spills oil,
so cynic, dirty, how our oil is black,
and we must shudder at our really lives,
and only good is good enough.
Excuses all wear out before their time.
Or we will frighten God
and shoo him off. We’ll make
the everything afraid of us. Boo
Christ, you must be scared of us.
How dare this man be so familiar
God. No “I’m the greatest” stuff, or “look
there’s nothing scares me in the universe.”
but “See the Father here before your eyes.
You silly people, don’t you see that God
is here with you right now. I love you all.
You are my children, friends and intimate.
I live within your hearts, the Whisperer.
You wear my uniform; I am your boss
and pay you always more than you deserve.
Sit in my lap and know identity;
you have my genes and I know who you are.
You rest together tender in my care.
So inevitable the middle-class pride, drive
upwards to quiet, made-it glory on my own terms,
the shell, and slow realisation of not working,
patching up, making the best of a bad job life.
Or nice beneath the superficial flaws.
Why have they left the room?
Or lock my heart in a deposit box
safe from assault and beating, dead.
Or live dynamic, switching on the sleep
at half-past one with pills,
to kill the making sense,
We are at risk if people talk
direct to God. Love, joy and peace destroy
our powers. We need criss-crossing fear to drive
their lives. With kids enjoying God
and all this easy access to the Almighty,
things could get out of control.
We’ve got to kill him soon
or our whole system crashes to the ground.
Late train, again, and later night.
Great Western Railway almost out of sight.
The West is set in post-modernity,
mock georgian concrete for eternity.
So creeps the East to West,
Deflating the great pride.
The middle way is best;
the great white hope has died.
Success has suffered much
and true and false are dumb.
De-solve yourself and melt.
The vacant stare has come.
So blind, we cannot see
creation is so good;
we live now through TV,
the pearl misunderstood.
The fingers of God’s hand
caress the East and West,
touch cultures in each land.
The humble poor are blessed.
How can you hate wise innocence
and seek to murder him,
to plan him dead? Dry rot strands
grow into furry calculations.
Trapped, we decay,
too late to go back,
It is not here; it is not there;
you cannot find it anywhere.
But stay and wait and see
how full God’s rule in you can be.
Hug, wrap around, enfold your lonely man
and keep the bitter cold out if you can.
He’ll come inside you looking for the womb,
but fearing lest he find your home a tomb.
Love is so complex; private parts so tight;
the who is in there always out of sight.
“What will you ride, Sir? How will I order?”
“That young ass, and bring its mother too,
lest it be frightened by the crowds.”
No warhorse, feet scarcely off the ground.
They’re right, but so, so deeply wrong.
You sightsee through the world with souvenirs,
buy the can here and can’t remember where
you saw it on the screen sometime before
and give it now a hundredth at f8.
The distance of the world resides within,
the smoked glass screening of the soul.
It is really difficult to conceive how any
sane man, man mark you, could screw up
so fully as to betray him for funds, Him,
healer, coughing up pearls and gentle too,
spreading love, like muck on barren land.
What was in Judas’ mind? Bloody money.
Sometimes I think we are all going down
“So, Judas, leave now, go and take the purse.
Your friends believe you’re going to buy bread.
You’ve had this opportunity to face your curse,
but now you’ve calculated, go ahead
without recriminations, nothing will be said.”
And so we come to trial. Harrow Crown Court.
All good and true, but one perhaps. She knits
oblivious, deciding on the facts,
no post-Tractatus judge, but Tory sleep
of rentier law and order rich.
The lady wears her blindfold.
O Lord, have mercy on us.
The victim is guilty, yes, but knitted up
by the big mother, tape worm on lap.
Where are the big house, greedy rich
for whom we work, whiter than white,
the milking class, porn, city, shares,
drugs and monopoly, big dealing class?
Our Pharisees? They’ve moved
to get the nasty taste out of their mouths.
The automatic milkers are at work.
And so we come to trial.
No time for truth – nearly two thousand years.
The current problem is the populace,
their clamour fed by morsels, carefully dropped.
Keeping things ordered is a daily race.
Ten thousand problems, carefully seen through,
all by one man, here, looking at your face.
He sees the structure of your Godless Rome
and why the Empire will not last the pace.
The people are a problem for him too.
They want a sign, a miracle in case
their neighbour love runs out and turns to hate.
No votes for him; truth always in disgrace.
The opium is the TV and the press.
The Sun shines down its arse and makes a mess.
So Murdoch makes the monarchy his tool
and drugs and tarts the nation, dies rich fool.
Why, God, did you not listen to our arguments
for your existence, rationalize yourself,
speak when you are spoken about,
and take up residence in our academic heads.
They were quite open-minded, logical.
You could have been an avant-garde Idea,
established by our books and articles.
You lacked ambition of our intellect.
A simple-minded God can’t go down well.
No accident, that war, nor yet the next.
The US pushed out BP,
installed its puppet Shah and milked the oil
from mogul empires in tall offices.
Then Jimmy Carter’s naive principles
of human rights upset the applecart.
The Ayatollah severed hands and cut
the arms trade, but we financed war,
sold weapons, built up debt, Saddam Hussein,
Iran-Iraq, tame weapons and the Gulf,
used smoking Bush to service limousines,
and pardon North, the White sepulchral House.
So silly Saddam does not know the rules:
buy weapons; do not use them; play your games.
A wicked victim, hollow President.
How do you understand conspiracy?
To kill the Son of God, a grand design,
the evil one, or two, or all of us?
the increments of sin, small private thoughts,
clever, not holy, not considered wrong,
just selling pigeons at a premuim
to fodder people, selfish calculus.
The picture is a pixel pattern lie,
conspiring with, against, defeating us.
Here is the Word redeeming all
the flabby self-indulgence of our words,
the formal maps and tailored cadences,
the pneumatic authority of arguments,
elaborate categories, dilettante shaped,
destructured in the foolishness of God.
You cannot make the journey, nor can I,
but come along the track a little way.
Say you were good, and gave and gave and gave,
fed, healed and cared for crowds who followed,
but, when it counted, chose a murderer.
Say you withstood all evil when it grew,
and carefully exposed its origins,
until the predators all turned on you,
saliva venom, hating all you did.
Say you as teacher shared the greatest thoughts
with those you’d nurtured through to understand.
They, vacuous, threw the pearls away.
Does not self-pity work within your soul,
resentment that this good should be so spurned,
and anger than such truth is trampled on?
The more you know and love, the lonelier,
the deeper good, the greater gulf between.
And then to know they want to crucify
God’s love expressed in you.
Now love them more, nasty and fickle,
blind after wickedness and fools,
yearn for their lostness, care less
for death, know and forgive.
Then lose yourself, the Father in your heart,
and freely sacrifice your very self,
for this dear scum.
Each tortured day of horrorscopes will leave
this question hanging on your consciousness.
This man was killed by such
as walk our streets,
sick unto death.
You, naked on the cross.
We know our shame
and look away.
This quiet morning, stretch, tender my side.
Your sunshine, Father, warms yellow on blue.
Nothing to do. Death over. Now you guide
these little ones to us and all is true.
How does the Spirit rest upon our time?
Not uninvited, but not absent now.
No future fast or living blick by blick,
but when we hear, no ashes or regret,
nostalgia, polishing the past.
God’s time has come, is now and now.
Each heartbeat hits the moment,
just, true and good.
Where, Lord, this Easter will you visit us,
Cathedrals, mountain tops or Holy Land?
Please come to Butlins, welcome with us here
in Crazy Horse, Big Top and Beachcomber.
You may not like pink mermaids, plastic trees
and fake stone walls. Your style is Spring and wind-
swept hail. But slum and harvest hearts. We give
an alto sax, voice, arms and tear-stained face
to praise you, resurrected Lord. Not death
but Ishmael’s stomp. Not vain, proud, grave, all lost,
but clappy happy mad and bouncing praise.
So easy God with us, for us; beneath
our weakness, failure, mercy-swinging grace.
Dear Jesus, friend of sinners, all-in Lord.
So, is it merely a happy ending?
God wins on Easter Day,
defeating death and bastards everywhere,
the cosmic V sign to the human race?
Thus we confront our superficial selves,
that cannot live one life, stay in one skin.
We even posture with the truth. Our words
still try to gloss our evil and injustices
like Nixon’s tapes. But stop.
Now God is with us, everything exposed,
knows us and suffers all in sovereign love.
All things are changed, but really as they are.
We dwell now in the passive mode
and watch the ego silver fish run from
the light of Christ transforming all the world,
dead sinful selves, no death wish,
Alan Storkey 1990-4