Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Witness To A Beheading

I have wondered, since, but I do not know
Why God would not take the stand;
If he listened to Him, and He is good,
Who was uttering that lunatic command?
But then, who am I to say that he is crazy?
He comes from China; why doesn’t he
Follow Confucious, or perhaps contemplate Zen;
Why obey a voice that might have spoken in riddles;
The conclusions are beyond the reach of mere men.

The mind is constantly chattering; this is illusion;
You must perceive the empty space if you would find reality;
Attune to the quiet, that underlies confusion;
We are all interdependent; there is no neutrality.
We need to trust each other;
Does anyone want to live completely alone?
That knife is sharp enough to sever bone, but
Cut off someone else’s head?
You may as well cut off your own.

Remember Madame De Farge, knitting in the front row?
She is, now, sitting behind the driver, muttering,
Her silent weapons hidden in her bag, running
Her finger along the perfect acuity of the blade,
As if this were not our descent into chaos;
But believe me, she is the one who would know.

And the rest of us, all sitting here,
Deliberately unaware, that we have nothing more to fear;
His labors are complete. It required quite a bit more effort
Than just rising up out of a plush, velour seat.
Remove a head? The d├ęcor colours are innocuous;
They had, unfortunately, been shampooed
Recently, and the fabric does not match this red.

Of course, we offered thanks to the swat team;
We all admired their restraint; but then,
They didn’t have the benefit of his certainty.
On what prize could they fix their eyes?
So they hung on the words of that possible sinner,
But couldn’t hold on to hope, no matter how faint.
And now, with the troubled sun fading in the west,
They remove their unnecessary body armour,
And take him, whimpering, out our hands;
We, who now know what could never have been,
Had he not blown in with the drifting sands;
Then they gave us into the qualified care
Of those who could not erase what we had seen.
There was no point in closing our eyes;
Or laying down our heads; or of trying to get some rest;
We had left our places of comfort, pulling
Ahead of our baggage, arriving at, simply, nowhere.

Yea, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
Why must we fear such an impersonal evil?
Thou preparest a table in the presence of an unimaginable enemy;
Thy rod and thy staff do not comfort us;
Our Father, who art, or who ought to be in Heaven,
Far, far away from this pennance on earth;
Where the soul you might restore refuses to mend;
Why shall goodness and mercy follow us?
Why do you make us lie down where there are no green pastures?
Where we never know when our road will end.
How can we forgive those who trespass against us,
When we cannot divine what forgiveness is worth.

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