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Friday 7 September 2012

Boys and their Guns!

A moment of madness (some would say -
or childishness, or sacrilege - but I
know what I am about).
Assembling my trusty ray gun
(it's parts distributed around my pockets).
You'll never guess
what this ole boy's supposed to be:
my silent challenge to the world of faith before
I let the grand ole stone work have it -
straight between the eyes.

{WHAM!} {BAM!} {POW!}as they put it in the comics.

Before the stonework, though, the reredos -
all those fine carvings that the priest adores so much
(and I have never really understood),
a pool of molten butter on the floor.

O.K.. Test successful. Down to business.
Another burst. The great East Window goes.

Likewise after supper he took the cup...
the priest goes on, oblivious
to the Joseph Chapel's sad demise,
not to mention the transept 
and part of the clerestory...

...and when he had given thanks...
but I am Biggles in the Orient; Dick Barton, Special Agent,
and a host of secret operators
charged with scything weeds -
for that's the way I see it now:
I'm scything down the weeds
to see the big wide world out there like fields of corn.
This do in remembrance of me... 

And as the towering weeds collapse,
what corn I see!
A row of terraced houses
(condemned before the war),
the paint and varnish factory
(burnt out a month ago),
an avenue of lime trees
(black as soot and  almost dead from lack of care).
The people are invisible -
except I see them now in stark relief,
redrawn by what the brain can do
when faith allows imagination to catch up.

That's better eh? The golden corn has room to breathe,
the dog can see the rabbit,
the priest has sight of those he thought to serve.
He's suddenly among the dispossessed.
Written for Victoria Slotto's prompt at dVerse ~ Poets' Pub: Symbolism


Brian Miller said...

wow...vivid, intense....some fun quips....the priest now with a view of those he is supposed to serve...ha...the gun toter has a bit of madness but i wonder on him a bit and his intentions, are they good...

Mary said...

"The people are invisible -
except I see them now in stark relief,
redrawn by what the brain can do
when faith allows imagination to catch up." -- These are the lines of the poem that strike me hardest. I do think sometimes faith needs imagination and in imagination sometimes one can find faith.

Daydreamertoo said...

This all made me smile Dave. We played with guns and water pistols and catapults we made as kids. But, the best games were the ones where we were super hero's (always the goodies) killing all the baddies and saving the world, whether it wanted saving or not! LOL
I love the jumping from kids to the buildings, dilapidated, trees dying, the church falling apart around the priest, who remains blissfully unaware.
Great capture of life here in all of your symbolism Dave. Really enjoyed it.!

Anonymous said...

Such a sweet poem but I can't help reading it in an almost sinister light in face of all the shooting stuff we have in the U.S. But this itself makes for its own interest, as it reminds me of that kind of imaginative play so well - the interplay between priest and inner mind so well done- and then you think about people that get the real weapons! And have some little inkling as to a kind of immaturity that gets out of hand. Agh. So interesting. k.

Jenny Woolf said...

Ambivalent about this poem, or perhaps I have just not understood. It seems oddly negative compared to what you often write, although, as ever it is powerful and interesting. .

hedgewitch said...

This is an excellent excellent poem and a great use of symbolism, carried through both diligently and seemingly effortlessly, scything everything before it. Loved it Dave.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Wow! This is wonderful, Dave.

Claudia said...

i'm not really sure but for me this has political undertones...vivid images here and tightly written

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

"when faith allows imagination to catch up" a marvellous line and Wordsworth's echoes under your strong verses.

Victoria said...

Very textured, layered poem, Dave. A line from another poem I read years ago came to mind--something about challenging our deeply held beliefs. The poem was called "The Truth Shop" and written by an Easter Indian Jesuit...Anthony deMello, I think. Have to try to find it, now. The work of a lifetime.

Cloudia said...

You are getting good stuff.

"That's better eh? The golden corn has room to breathe,
the dog can see the rabbit,
the priest has sight of those he thought [ or 'ought' ? ] to serve.
He's suddenly among the dispossessed."

Have a Great Weekend
Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Dave King said...

Yes, I had meant his intentions to be good.. but I guess no one is wholly good and I think perhaps he enjoyed the (imagined) demolition more than he should have.

Absolutely! And that is what the poem was meant to be about: stripping away the unimaginative masonry that has accumulated around the basic faith.

Thanks for this. You seem to have read my mind - or shared my day dreams!

Yes, I take your point. This was all meant to be daydream, of course and with the best of (theological) intentions, but of course daydreams can get ut of hand and sad people can live them for real. Fine when the intention is good, but you are right: today's obsession with shooting can cast an evil light on innocent play.

Thanks Jenny. I guess the possibility for ambiguity is built into it. A boy with an adult vision of the luggage with which the church has burdened itself indulges a childish phantasy of stripping away the accretions of time and getting back to what the church should be about.

Thank you so much for saying this. I must confess I was unsure of it and thought twice about posting.

Thanks. Great to hear this.

Political undertones were not intended, rather theological ones, but it is damnably hard to keep politics and theology apart! Thanks for your thought. I shall ponder it.

Much thanks for this. Allowing faith to catch up appeared as I typed the verse into Blogger. So very last moment.

Very much appreciate your comments and many thanks for the prompt. I shall try to track down "The Truth Shop".

Many thanks for saying this. Most helpful. And do have a great weekend yourself.

ds said...

Brilliant. Thank you.

Dave King said...

Thanks for saying.