Tangential Thoughts on Nov. 22, 1963 November 22, 2013Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
All Things Great & Small
God made all things great & small
& to some he gave palsy
& an early death as he gave
his only begotten son
as a lesson to us all:
Why him and not another?
Why palsy and not, say, leprosy?
Whimsical, you discover, is
a complicated word and this
we think is how god makes poets.
We can not know for certain.
God is mysterious & has a plan
only his apparatchiks can see
so of course when they take
a bullet, squads of us are lost.
God is terrible in his anger
like an overwrought mother,
makes mistakes & drowns
worlds to erase his blackboard
& this is how a four-foot nun
lords over a room of six year olds
in itchy khaki with her metal ruler.
Offer up your suffering to Christ
she says when all you want is an aspirin
& a mother less severe to hold you.
She left us kneeling on the terrazzo
with our plastic rosaries contemplating
how God could make a Catholic president
& then kill him. There was a lesson here
plain as the cross on the wall. God’s
sternest servants sometimes kneel & weep.
Is it any surprise we take the altar-boy
wedding tips & buy pot & lie on the levee
contemplating the distant & mysterious stars,
wondering if sometimes God ponders
what’s on the other side of infinity?
God keeps a picture on his desk
of Chronos & Zeus on a fishing trip,
plots crucifixions, Crusades & Auschwitz
to remind us he is terrible & unpredictable
& we carry those lessons with us
all through life , in devotion or distaste, when
the lessons we should remember
are charity to that poor boy
we mocked like Roman soldiers,
to look up at the sky in wonder,
accepting mystery on its own terms,
& when necessary, to kneel and weep.