David Swartz "RELIGION WITH AN EDGE"
biblicalfictions.com
Poetry for the Curious across the Religious Spectrum
PIETA`

 

      

 

 

[Song of the Blessed Virgin]

 

 

 

for Inge Grafe etc.

 

 

 

 

This flesh athwart my knees,

Male-scented agony,

Bronze-sweet leaching from His limbs,

His flank, and there,

 

The thorns that burned HIS temples—

I'd hold this was

My son, for fiercely did He rake MY innards

Where no man

 

Had eased the passage,

And least of all, mild Joseph.     

He stiffens toward his dying, cold, that cold,

I hesitate

 

To gather it toward my breasts.

Ah yes, "it," for IT is Thing

Itself. To think I heard His bell clear

Anguish

 

At some trifle just months back, if it WERE He,

And child

At that—juice of His 33 years so real

It seemed like 6.

 

 

{{ "They call these quips Beatitudes. From mess

To Mass all prayer exudes.

 

His Peter founded rock upon a Church,

But left his Savior in the lurch." }}

 

 

There, over there,

The gentle man that'd urge me quit

This grief that he might bury

A stink, this corpse,

 

                                               This remnant they call Christ.

I am half afraid to hesitate,

That that large task be over lest I covet simply Jew,

Not

 

God. Would kiss

The blooded spittle from His lips, would

Stroke like

Magdalene [if her boast be frank] His belly.

 

 

{{ "For those who 'hunger, thirst for what is right,'

The time is unpropitious, hardly ripe.

 

Even the wretched lost their chance. [For whom this boldly

Sacred birth commenced.]

 

The lost as well, the 'Thou Shalt Nots?'

Are sick of sin, are tied in knots.

 

Only the evil reap the grain.

The wicked prosper, meek refrain.

 

They've lived to doubt He'll come again.

A corpse is rotting in the rain." }}

 

 

Yonder are 10,000 who [such rabble!] faded

Toward the City after shouting

Barabbas [a THIEF!]

The lesser sacrifice.

 

In even this lack of light I see 3 ragged

Stakes

And heavy horizontals, rough hewn

Muddled

 

Misery for their touted Son of Man.

The others had their gibes!

"Savior, save thyself!"

And the black

 

Of NIGHT, not earned perdition at the very swell

Of noon,

Some astrological prediction

Charted by the wise.

 

 

{{ "A world intones He's Son O.B.

'Father, forgive them' for a eulogy.

 

The tears are torrent. Pain's the flood.

We mourn our little sickly God.

 

Christ came just once, and not again.

[Teach us to strain and not to strain.]

 

Yoke His freedom, quell the Jews.

Drink the wine or spice the juice." }}

 

 

Ah Jesus, would that you'd done

Just that, ripped

Sinews of the wire and spikes

Which pinned their ratter.

 

And strode with all that multitude, awe-struck,

Toward

Salvation. Judah alone will bear

The brunt of this costly

 

Pageant.

They will prey upon the Jews that split His side

And spilt

His manic innocent blood. Where, might

 

I ask, was God?

So lean, the column of His abdomen—

Would ripple toward some gilded wench

And surely not

 

A gelded mother.

This morning dribbles eastward

From

The mouth of day. A stranger world will have its way.

 

 

{{ "The gales have struck. The house is odd!

Wainscot clawed by a mousy Fraud.

 

We're born again, but manhood winks.

The brand is canned in what He thinks.

 

The more He matters, more we grieve—

A Crucifixion's up His sleeve.

 

The Christ is ill, and Yahweh sickens.

Simply for such delicti thickens.

 

A child He'd have us and endure the broken.

The children closed—the graves are open." }}

 

 

The very day the rumor states an angel

Stood by me,

I'd hoped to find my path to Joseph's lust.

For I was all to him,

 

And honored by his Love.

That very day—the message of the scholars,

Notwithstanding—

I was privy to his demanding,

 

Even yet intact, and innocent of the carnal Act,

And was evidence

Enough, that first attempt on me.

Christ knows he was

 

Ashamed, and the knowledge edged what WE'D

Enact.

What then the swollen belly 3 months hence?

A virgin's dance,

 

And even THEN his trust!

The Son had burgeoned greatly in my uterus—

Was Fact thus.

Was Act thus. Was.

 

 

{{ "With Tyre and Sidon was a disposition

Toward respect, 17 angels on their neck.

 

With other than them hell fire,

Inferno. Dear God, they'd burn. They'd burn. Oh—

 

Simple children would endure His message.

The elder folks would have Him rummage.

 

'The yoke was easy and the burden light.'

A turn to spirits for a sleepless night.

 

Neither Tyre nor Sidon found their burdens harsh.

A pavèd highway through the cosmic marsh.

 

Should Christ relent, were the pity broad,

A Path to perdition on the hole to God." }}

 

 

A child in some customary weeks—

An honored infant—

The scribes, a theologian's foretold fury,

Boldest story,

 

"Blessed shall be the Meek's."

Flight to an inn, to a stable,

The blood and bread of Christ our staple—and

So the fable.

 

Small matter that the prodigy read script

At 18 months

And spoke in 3—such

Was the Virgin's, Joseph's progeny.

 

Such was the honored shame,

That mildest Mary

Blessed a child with Holy Spirit—her universe

A wayward curse,

 

Immaculata presage,

History, mystery,

Calvary, savage adage—10 billions bred to steer

It.

 

 

{{ "The Blessèd's mangy from a Christian anger.

They stated Foundling pinched His manger.

 

Though simple folk try Resurrection.

The wicked fondle their d-erections.

 

And what is current serves for bliss.

The sterile past, the crowd He fished.

 

Basket to basket welled like lizard,

More to munching Satan's gizzard." }}

 

 

His honor grew precipitous

As I nursed Him into fame—His EARTHLY father's

Tame.

Yet neither he nor I

 

Was capable for the incident at 10—

Or past 11. The journey

Homeward and our Jesus

Missing—

 

Was Fame itself the lad was kissing

Or Fortune's whore?

From that time forth He would come no more.

A tiny

 

Metaphysician, weird marvel for the lame.

WAS Fame itself HE tamed.

An angel guided Jesus on the flight, that very night

Toward Christ.

 

The air was sullen, sliced,

Afraid. The kiss was caught, betrayed, Mary, even Mother

Simply

Maid.

 

 

{{ "More to repast than chalk and paste.

The faithful grinned but eyed the chaste.

 

Our poor-in-heart remained penurious.

The meek were mucked, the youngsters furious.

 

In turn our God prepared the grill.

The sight enough to heal the well." }}

 

 

The early epochs of His living

Are least known

[Carpenter born of carpenter and the wood they

Groaned.]

 

I'D vouch He seldom left my sight,

To labor in the usual learning,

To pray

[Or stray] from wench or yearning.

 

It was to be that thing with Cousin

That was MY lament.

His John that made it known a greater cause than "Baptist"

Ruled the tent.

 

And certain enough the rumors came

And went,

That, utterly immersed, He rose from death,

Replete with curse.

 

What's worse, the bird that blessed,

Descended to His Crest—

Christ knows that Christ was crust for ANY crushed

Caressed.

 

 

{{ "Grace became grease, their liquor honey.

The richer rich or graced with money.

 

What if Yahweh stoked His ovens?

Sisters—Sisters. Cousins, covens.

 

Covins, curlews—was a grand parade,

That led their Savior to an early grave.

 

Or led Him promise heat in summer,

Cold in autumn, cart for hummer.

 

Some for cherished, some for grope,

Some for rope around the throat." }}

 

 

WAS that complete,

And not enough to bathe your feet,

Some other

Mockeries

 

I CAN'T repeat—suffice

That YAHWEH changed

The sheet. And dovèd, belovèd for centuries to come,

The innocent struck dumb,

 

The worldly numb.

For here was sanction for ANY messianic mission,

For the Word or the world or the worm that fished

In.

 

Sanction of Spirit, God—

And goings-on

Most captious,

Even fearsome—Moses himself, the Stark Commandments.

 

Was not enough that prodigy be rabbi-remnants.

Fashioned or broken,

This stripling commanded token,

Will to Christ.

 

And minimal-EAGLE

Spoken.

A torso's fears? Who nearly 20 years

Had stroked them.

 

 

{{ "His Yahweh'd have love with heart

And strength. And yet we dangle from His rope

 

No matter tightens, or the length.

He'd have us judge or not be judged, some such

 

Wayward adage—that. He'd have us cruel

[As any fool]'d suffice to task the pattern,

 

Where It's at. What we'd bugger—privacy.

Whether priest or saint, self or slattern.

 

                                   Sheep to the right, everlasting bliss in Court.

Goats to the left, they're burn-in-hell or icy.

 

Vanquished, banished from the Master's privity,

Languished, anguished—time is short." }}

 

 

Stroked SON indeed—the implication madam.

An edifice of adman.

The advertisement of a gland

That lost its head to change the brand.

 

Mother, mildest Joseph, cuckold of the tribe—

Had quite denied

Both meal and plate,

The meal they fixed and finally ate.

 

Was a noble trait,

The plate We ate,

From fish to bait,

Queer to straight.

 

The plate He ate,

From fish to bait,

Was a noble trait,

The plate We ate.

 

 

{{ "Eternal fire with Jesus and the Devil. Evil

Or Christ Jesus—boss, disciple. Birth, abortion.

 

Holy Ghost, distortion. Spirit changed, rung up—

Curt. Greatest commandment, curse.

 

Virtue married to demand. Plan canned,

Timely, terse. Leased [or least admitted]

 

Hearts. Greatest—indebted.

Some to roost in heavenly bliss. Proffered kiss—or

 

Vetted. Stark enslavement to the moment. Christ

As torment. Threats we take Him at his word." }}

 

 

And strange indeed He'd turn a stone

To bread.

Yet other rumors

Fled us. They fed us

 

Like the very fount of Scripture,

And gleaned of torture.

Of standing on the parapet

Or fasting 40 days,

 

That rupture.

And rumor alone we'd nurture.

And who would fault

We'd seed no rapture?

 

 

{{ "Savior, child, albeit absurd—worried, odd.

Such the fitful God. Panic we'd dangle.

 

From court to coast—bend, angle.

A serious occupation—what WE'D do for the least.

 

Sour the greater ration. Simply outcast—wrench

A victim. Servant of the God that picked Him.

 

Hardly angry that we gave to eat.

Bathed our feet. Naked, clothed us. Starved or

 

Chose us. Hungry, fed. Sleepy, bed.

Fearsome, dread. Stranger,

 

Welcomed. Hungered, weaned. Cherished, perished.

Motion, trussed. Christ-like, just." }}

 

 

The strangest news

So quickly supplanted

By the latest 1—

That they'd urge Him kneel to Satan, Devil?

 

Or rumor, mill?

Satan indeed

[Had languished lately in His greed,

Had had His fill.]

 

And who among us were prepared

To call the bluff?

The designation Virgin

Would seem fair enough.

 

Or Virgin's Son?

Or everyone?

Was not for God.

Was simply apt.

 

And stiffens in a lap, this corpse of Christ,

Whether dead

Or writhing,

For no rude shepherd could quite survive Him.

 

 

{{ "Damnèd, potion, saved, without.

Angry, restless. Sainted, doubt.

 

Stupid, brilliance. Tardy, first in line,

Hungry, all the stuffing. Thirsty, given brine.

 

Master, servant. Bastard, brave.

Wicked, virtue. Coward, slave." }}

 

 

The 3 magicians

Languish in the desert.

The menu's mèlange

For their dessert.

 

But hardly jolly.

Such is the canker of historical folly.

Suffer the children

To come unto thee?

 

From DOVE by parrot,

Hell to holy,

We watched Him grow toward Fact.

Such was the wisdom

 

That'd fact enact. And such the Grace.

That touch of madness

In His face,

That lapse from chaste.

 

For He knew all lotions,

Knew sacrilege and strange devotions.

Knew violent

Motions. Knew madness, potions.

 

Only that He had climbed down from that Tree

Suddenly,

Would verity

Effect.

 

And bear up under ANY rumor

[The deficit

Of prophets

Is their lack of humor.]

 

 

{{ "Master, servant. Bastard, brave.

Wicked, virtue. Coward, slave.

 

Stupid, brilliance. Tardy, first in line,

Hungry, all the stuffing. Thirsty, given brine.

 

Damnèd, potion, saved, without.

Angry, restless. Sainted, doubt." }}

 

 

I have spoken to the Devil and the angels,

Who [all]

Await His Second Coming.

I have conversed with fire and known

 

Its Source. This Jesus in my arms

Is at its service.

At times so gentle that He'd barely will a money changer

Know remorse. At times

 

So harsh He'd break the balance

Into goat, goat cursed

And blessèd sheep, the former into flames most searing,

Latter UNTO Sheep.

 

And God most odd.

What can it profit gentle folk, as He, instill to fear Inferno,

Agonized descend

To burn? To burn—oh, scorch, and kindle

 

FOR redemption?

This flesh, even this corpse of Christ, is wholly innocent

Of malice.

We have seen Him clothed

 

In surplice.

We have seen Him cloaked in ash.

He has called Him winnower,

As if to separate

 

That wheat from chaff.

The chaff, the sinful, scorch in everlasting pain,

The good,

As long as LIFE can be? Eternity in Grace.

 

 

{{ "This Devil has notion of a fact—

If Jesus was the Christ, fact's not exact.

 

They said He wept, 'Gethsemane.'

Said they slept [the verse was free.]

 

'Let this cup pass me by,' He crowed.

If such was such, you, heavy browed.

 

[They said they snored!] Did Jesus hear?

Where was witness? Whose the fever?

 

And who gave suck to lamentation?

And who recorded His frustration?" }}

 

 

Grace of the living God was in His Face.

Strangely enough this Man would have the Gentile, gentle, tame

The tomb.

This gentle soul from Mary's womb.

 

And will again Man, will God for lacking gentle, Gentile Him the same.

The paradox is Christ,

A canker

In their brain, to love Him as I loved to love, quandary BEYOND dimension.

 

The Christ is God Jehovah in the apprehension,

Jesus, a carpenter's son,

In humankind.

He frames the Source of ash.

 

Who knows His truest heart must feel His past.

Must drink His spirit.

In truth He IS the lamb?

Only the truest tiger could Tiger sense and understand.

 

Simply a sinner understands.

Simply a beast

Can kneel to stroke

That gentle small-boned hand.

 

 

{{ "The Word had come from Christ the Lord?

Had he bragging rights? Was it Peter's sword?

 

Your Devil's cynic when it comes to Scripture?

Ah, sacred, YES, but whose conjecture?

 

Can you forgive a healthy skepticism,

That scans a sacrificial Lamb with 7 iambs?

 

Certain for sure truth attracts,

And sinner, holy sinner—facts!

 

Certain such tales are nobly written.

But truth, Truth—is the grapefruit bitten?" }}

 

 

Sweet Jesus, son, can Christ fault me as

I'd question

He'd consign a tree to wither,

Lacking citron, fig?

 

That such, your mother, dare to argue

[He did as well]

That the rich were worth eternal life

And no eternity

 

Of brimstone?

You've KNOWN the Baptist's well.

You've heard his yell.

You've garnered his broad lecture.

 

Was not for such conjecture

Alone

They deemed him Scripture. If God's indeed a furnace

That the rich man

 

Stoke,

And Jesus attendant on a filthy joke,

What soul could fail

To end in smoke

 

Or cosmic purgatory?

And where the outer limit to His glory?

I'd have no Herod's

Offspring

 

Yearn.

Nor grind their teeth, nor simply burn.

Nor fuss nor future

PROPERLY condemned.

 

And no such men.

We've milked His quest, compassion's breasts,

His loving eyes.

And such WAS His, God's servant.

 

 

{{ "Is apple, Apple, microbe, Soft?

Fish or fact from fiction's trough?

 

Heard 3 versions of this humanistic bent.

Trotted it out for Easter, better, Lent.

 

Wise men, triplets, shepherds 3,

Sinner's lie makes perjury—

 

Of course in Court!

[Not my fault the scansion's short.]" }}

 

 

The CATEGORY'S urgent.

The tender

Of a proper son, fierce guardian of a wayward Paradise.

Gather us into God,

 

Your LOVING ways. This death of His were final.

Finally craze.

I see you linger at the message on their plate.

Was God you dared berate!

 

Was God Himself!

You linger by the grate. Admit a ruined virgin?

Betray no

Supplicant, no surging.

 

Who knelt to stroke your Face.

To stroke your gentler hand.

A mother's grief would even Herod [the great?]

Invest

 

His pride to fully understand.

Was such the plan.

Pity without pity

Is an urge. Let HEAVEN speak of scourge.

 

I'd capture your own words. I'd capture Word itself.

I'd quell the fire.

Chastely enough, a Virgin's captive child, that vanquished all desire.

And chaste His fire.

 

For holy waxed the Ghost.

And holy was the Spirit.

This conjuring of Hell!

Its better half must fear it.

 

 

{{ "Called me Abuser as a child.

[Baptist had his fiercer phase!] Mild

 

Jesus Himself turned cheek but once.

Called Him tiger if He dared to pounce.

 

How can the Son of God [Man] plead

Mercy? [I speak of Yahweh, not of Circe.]

 

Got some civet for an utterly odoriferous lie?

I'd take it as a lull-and-buy.

 

Bury skeptic in the cavern where He rested.

Pacify what awful stress did." }}

 

 

It were enough that He simply were

My son, that His brave boast

Were emptied,

That I had lived to fear MY death and not His own,

 

That the sacrifice was broken

Before it dared enact.

That existence alone was fact, that worldly son exacted

No large Spirit.

 

Or laid His life "down for our sins," and yet my sin WAS

Gnawing at my soul,

Urging no Grace of His were total,

All worldly promise token.

 

 

{{ "This aching corpse reneges on Paradise.

I see the maggots worm his stricken thighs.

 

Here by those hideous trees that root in earth

As if to mock the soil, to mock the very dirt,

 

The grave must tightly seal to quench this filth

That mocks my lad that mocks his image,

 

And Death, a usual thing, must ape this ravage.

I pray for death and whisper in that gaping,

 

Theatrical ear, where worms are near, where

Death is Fear. I pray for Christ the Son." }}

 

 

For I watched an infant grow toward Christ,

A babe that

Privy to the carnal fact,

Endured His halting

 

Lurch toward speech.

Endured His first and tentative steps, even His wriggling reach

Toward crawl.

Had seen, and seen was all.

 

Even His cursory babble premature,

To be His mother and endure, endure

A Fact.

That fact WAS Act, that Act was budding God.

 

Was awed, the child,

Fierce beauty in a creature mild, that meek He'd dread to harm

A spider

Clinging to a rain-dewed web,

 

Or interrupt the progress of an ant.

Dreadful enough his distant cousin and the Cousin's mother,

That Baptist

Would recant, would fashion edict,

 

Endure Christ.

Even the covenant of blood, endure peculiar God, the Son.

The agony of channeling from belly

Into light,

 

Star light the night He wailed His first encounter

With a crueler world

Than even Satan could predict,

A fateful ending.

 

 

{{ "This thing that bends my lap has just begun.

This worm that aches its torso on my knees

 

Smiles ugly, terror, smiles for all to see—

That Mother's Virgin, split by her very child,

 

That Mother's aching, fiercely so but mild.

Such is the God that wrenches toward the skies?

 

Such are His thighs and such His aching eyes?

My voice has caught in a mess of canker, filth." }}

 

 

Was Universe the cry, a bent and need unending.

Prophet, nay Messiah

In the final rending.

Was bleeding, needing, blending, Virgin with the Ghost.

 

No mother understood the cost.

No father spent his seed

Or cast it into Nature. There was that terrible fear of future torture.

Herod alone

 

Had earned

The rapture, from lesson learned to Holy Scripture,

The murder of 10,000 infants slung

Into chaos and the pit—

 

For slaughter it, was, and likely fit the very notion of a God.

Slaughter alone would

Cease this reckless path. Toward Suckling

Vision.

 

And sin of birth and not commission.

Sin of Trial.

My Jesus wept the larger smile.

As Christ, He'd fashion.

 

As Christ, He'd ask them.

As Jesus alone

He'd well to manhood and the taste of glory. Simply 3 wise men

Knelt to glean the story.

 

3 shepherds knew, again, that Lamb,

"The Man I Am."

"Christ-Jesus" was the Word. 33 years I trembled simply to endure

The Sentence we had heard.

 

 

{{ "My words excrete, I pull them from disease.

He aches to tease, to trouble even God. Was

 

Odd, this God, this very stricken God. Here

Lay them down a Son to rest and here incline." }}

 

 

Was an awful muddle, that trial where

Jesus wept,

The whores that sewed it and the bed that slept.

They queried the man if He

 

Thought that He was God,

And the answer proffered was unseemly, odd—

"You said it, the words

Your own."

 

Or "My kingdom

Mine, not of this world." [Enough to curl the toes He curled.]

Enough, enough, that no fault

Was deemed against Him.

 

Simply enough that the theme incensed them.

Bore "witness to the truth,"

And truth was spoken.

Hypocrisy for many, as the bread He'd broken.

 

 

{{ "And Death's Divine, and Death's ignoble Crime.

Gaze here, bold God Jehovah, on Your largest Crime."

 

If such is God then worms are the womb of Time.

And such as filth is fervid, waxed, sublime." }}

 

 

"The wine He poured as blood," remark the scholars.

Who'd have him

Suffer and record the hollers.

"The words your own," the middling-man repeated.

 

"The words we ate," "Or the words we seeded?"

"The Word defeated,

Worm that vanquished."

And they'd have Him rotted

 

By the germ that languished.

"Are you king of the Jews?"

Dull Pilate queried.

"Do you ask, yourself, or the lot that's wearied?"

 

"Do you ask, yourself, or the World I'd bring?"

Such were the words

Of Christ, the King. Such was His

Motion, such the sting.

 

 

{{ "If such is God then worms are the womb of Time.

And such as filth is fervid, waxed, sublime.

 

And Death's Divine, and Death's ignoble Crime.

Gaze here, bold God Jehovah, on Your largest Crime." }}

 

 

"What have you done?"

The Roman added. "I have simply come," the Christ'd

Have it.

"I find no case and none this Man did."

 

But case was bitter, and His death demanded.

"I find no case and find no Son."

"Was innocence,

Was ALL He'd done."

 

 

{{ "Gaze on a Son of Man, on Christ, their King

And on His Mother. On a Son. On Anything . . .

 

On Son, on Daughter, on a loving faithful Wife.

Here is Your work, fierce Yahweh, carve Your slice." }}

 

 

"Guiltless itself this gentle spirit."

But the plain folk chanted

In their fear to hear it.

And centuries conspire to hide that chosen Fact.

 

That Christ was life and Love the Fact. That God

Were the spikes that ended

In His hands and feet.

That spikes were the God

 

That bathed His feet.

That Cross was His message, and the words repeat—

"They sat them down to take and eat."

They sat them

 

Down to devour the rest, soldiers gaming for the sore

Oppressed.

Soldiers gaming for a crown of thorns.

Soldier's comfort in the gathering storms. They laid

 

Him final

On a Mother's knees.

And the crowd was

Pleased. And was 3 in 1 and some several thieves.

 

 

                                                        

                                                                            February-March 2008