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Friday 15 February 2013

Sacrifice: no longer cool.

Nobody sacrifices now
the way they did of old,
the guys of the Old Testament.
They really knew their stuff
and buttoned up their faith.

They did it in obedience.
Thou shalt, said God
or Build!  -- and build they did
an altar for their sacrifice.

Without sacrifice, no worship was.
Bloodless was some --
plants from the field.
Or Bloody when a beast was slain.
Both offered up with salt --
the mineral for purity.

Extreme stuff, then,
with guilt the motivating spirit,
life offered in exchange for life.
Burnt offerings -- the immolation
of a victim (male).
They called it holocaust. 

All technical. Correct.
According to the law.
And in the last analysis,
all for the self, the soul --
self preservation for the latter day --
or preservation of the holy race.

Then came The Great Creator's
master stroke. In modern
terminology: 2G technology.
An apps for every generation:
Christ Crucified. Beat that!

I think now of my parents...
In war-time Britain. Offering up
their rations for their children's health.
(We weren't supposed to know.)
Was that not worship, too?
They never thought it so...
I'd need a whole new raft of adjectives 
to make my feelings plain.

Looking back, they were the generation
of the 3G Testament, perhaps...
but look around, there's plenty of it
going on. More covered up I guess.
By what? A Government demanding
its percentages according to its law.
Thou shalt!  again. And Build! 
Build a big society! 
Bricks without straw!
Heavens above, we've heard it all before...
And rights. So much demanding
of the individual's rights. No one looks
for duty and for sacrifice.
But both are rife.
This week's prompt by Laurie at Poetry Jam suggested Sacrifice as this week's theme.


Ygraine said...

This is so true!
Sacrifice must have seemed a wonderful thing when some poor hapless animal's (or indeed, human's) life was offered in return for favours from a remote deity for the chosen few - and without any fear of harm to themselves.
What choice did these poor unfortunate victims have?
What of their needs, their life?

And,as you so rightly say, "A government demanding it's percentages according to it's law."
Exactly: IT'S law, never the majority's needs. "If you cannot pay, then we'll punish you!!"
Money has become today's God - to the detriment of all but the elite few.

What has happened to TRUE sacrifice, where we give from the heart because we really WANT to, not because we're forced to:
where we act through love, rather than greed and selfishness?

Think you've ignited my dislike of injustice, Dave!
Exactly what it needs from time to time, lest I should fall victim to it too!!
Thank you :)

rallentanda said...

This is the age of self. It extends right into our friendships and relationships. We are taught to put ourselves and our needs first and as a result we are all a bunch of very unattractive selfish people without any redeeming graces. The pharmaceutical industry makes squillions from our misery.Dont love yourself for what you are...try to be much better than that!

Laurie Kolp said...

Society is more wrapped up in immediate gratification than sacrifice it seems. Great take on the prompt, Dave.

Mary said...

I liked the way you put a historical slant on Sacrifice, Dave. Indeed, it does seem that at times in the world's history sacrifice was 'cool.' Yes, and your mention of wartime...and all of the sacrificing that took place, ration cards and such. Not really by choice, but I think everyone knew it was necessity. And so true that the government(s) are still demanding WE sacrifice today...whereas they continue to spend unashamedly!

Tabor said...

Maybe we need to send the country's children to sacrifice camp.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Sacrifice has given way to self-fulfillment and selfish interests.

Brian Miller said...

ooo tight....when government became god....when we asked for a king we got it...and weeped...because it was not really what we wanted...and sacrifice...it doesnt happen much anymore...smiles. as ral says its the age of self...

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Society in general is much more individualistic in this day and age. Sacrafice is almost unheard of anymore. Great poem Dave.

ND Mitchell said...

Woven intricately. It's a word that doesn't fail to divide into the haves and the have nots. The one who sacrifices always loses unless they sacrifice someone else! Liked your technological imagery especially.

Helen said...

I also enjoyed how you wrote of sacrifice from history's perspective.
For me, it's all about the choices we make to do one thing over another. Sacrifice is a 'huge' word, isn't it?

Peggy said...

Yes to me the idea of sacrifice is a primitive thing but it is still all around us with different forms and names. I wonder if we have some genetic need to "pay" for things we want, whatever they may be.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

So much truth here Dave.

rallentanda says it all...

Anna :o]

kelvin s.m. said...

...sacrifices are no longer in need these days Sir... quite sad to say but true... for everything these days are automatic & portable & convenient & fools... martyrs are so long past gone... saints are so long decayed... heroes are so long fossilized... all of 'em are nowhere but caged inside a diorama or huge aquarium in a history museum... sacrifices are rather cheezy & corny nowadays as totally oppose to how noble it was before... ah... we are indeed in an aging society...aging world... and yes... aging self... great take on the prompt sir... and great punch in here...as always...enjoyed it... smiles...

Dave King said...

yes, I suppose when you could believe that you were ensuring your future and/or your after life, sacrifice must have seemed the sensible thing to do.

And you are right: TRUE sacrifice now takes a back seat. It happens, I am sure, but we do not hear - let alone read - about it because it is no longer cool.

Thank you for your thorough and - as always - apt observations.

You are right, it is the age of self, and self rules the roost, but there are, I am sure, disregarded souls scratching at the earth in sacrificial ways - just don't expect to hear about them!

I'm sure that, generally speaking, that is only too true. Thanks for the comment.

My memory is that the general public were frimly on the side of rationing and against the Black Market (for example). I also remeber parents sacrificing their own rations to give more to their children or the sick.

What a brilliant idea! I'd be all for that. (I wonder what they'd sacrifice.)

Yes, it surely has. You have to look very hard now to see the sacrificial element.

This is a pretty good summary of a sad state of affairs. All true enough. i was wondering which I'd most like to change, but can't decide!

Optimistic Existentialist
Yes, I'm sure it's the movement away from society and towards the individual that has helped to bring about the change.

ND Mitchell
Hi! A warm welcome to you. Thanks for visitng and for your comment. The sacrificial one would say s/he also gains - usually more than is lost. I know my parents would have said that about their reduced rations.

I agree: it is that... and,yes, sacrifice is a huge word - and with a variety of meanings.

Interesting idea, which I hadn't thought about or explored. Theme for another post one day, perhaps. Thanks for.

Thanks for this. Much appreciated.

I think a lot of what you say is true, but we must be careful of over-generalising. One doesn't have to be a martyr, for example, to make a sacrifice. It all depends, I suppose, on what colour you give to the word.

Jenny Woolf said...

So many people continue to make sacrifices, all the time.

I suppose in the end most of us realise that we wont't get anywhere just seeking our rights. Because life doesn't work that way.