Philip Larkin | |
If I were called in
To construct a religion
I should make use of water.
Going to church
Would entail a fording
To dry, different clothes;
My liturgy would employ
Images of sousing,
A furious devout drench,
And I should raise in the east
A glass of water
Where any-angled light
Would congregate endlessly.
Anne Kingsmill Finch | |
Good Heav'n, I thank thee, since it was design'd
I shou'd be fram'd, but of the weaker kinde,
That yet, my Soul, is rescu'd from the Love
Of all those Trifles, which their Passions move.
Pleasures, and Praise, and Plenty haue with me
But their just value.
If allow'd they be,
Freely, and thankfully as much I tast,
As will not reason, or Religion wast.
If they're deny'd, I on my selfe can Liue,
And slight those aids, unequal chance does give.
When in the Sun, my wings can be display'd,
And in retirement, I can bless the shade.
G K Chesterton | |
Isaiah Bunter has disappeared into the interior of the Solomon Islands, and it is feared that he may have been devoured by the natives, as there has been a considerable revival of religious customs among the Polynesians.
--A real paragraph from a real Paper; only the names altered.
It was Isaiah Bunter
Who sailed to the world's end,
And spread religion in a way
That he did not intend.
He gave, if not the gospel-feast,
At least a ritual meal;
And in a highly painful sense
He was devoured with zeal.
And who are we (as Henson says)
That we should close the door?
And should not Evangelicals
All jump at shedding Gore?
And many a man will melt in man,
Becoming one, not two,
When smacks across the startled earth
The Kiss of Kikuyu.
When Man is the Turk, and the Atheist,
Essene, Erastian, Whig,
And the Thug and the Druse and the Catholic
And the crew of the Captain's gig.
Friedrich von Schiller | |
Which religion do I acknowledge? None that thou namest.
"None that I name? And why so?"--Why, for religion's own sake?
Friedrich von Schiller | |
Oh, nobly shone the fearful cross upon your mail afar,
When Rhodes and Acre hailed your might, O lions of the war!
When leading many a pilgrim horde, through wastes of Syrian gloom;
Or standing with the cherub's sword before the holy tomb.
Yet on your forms the apron seemed a nobler armor far,
When by the sick man's bed ye stood, O lions of the war!
When ye, the high-born, bowed your pride to tend the lowly weakness,
The duty, though it brought no fame, fulfilled by Christian meekness--
Religion of the cross, thou blend'st, as in a single flower,
The twofold branches of the palm--humility and power.
Allama Iqbal | |
The soul of both of them is impatient and restless,
Both of them know not God, and deceive mankind.
One lives by production, the other by taxation,
And man is a glass caught between two stones.
The one puts to rout science, religion, art,
The other robs the body of soul, the hand of bread.
I have perceived both drowned in water and clay,
Both bodily burnished, but utterly dark of heart.
Life means a passionate burning, an urge to make,
To cast in the dead clay the seed of heart.
Robert Seymour Bridges | |
the history of melancholia
includes all of us.
me, I writhe in dirty sheets
while staring at blue walls
I have gotten so used to melancholia
I greet it like an old
I will now do 15 minutes of grieving
for the lost redhead,
I tell the gods.
I do it and feel quite bad
then I rise
even though nothing
that's what I get for kicking
religion in the ass.
I should have kicked the redhead
in the ass
where her brains and her bread and
but, no, I've felt sad
the lost redhead was just another
smash in a lifelong
I listen to drums on the radio now
there is something wrong with me
Ben Jonson | |
E P I G R A M S .
— TO FRANCIS BEAUMONT.
How I do love thee, BEAUMONT, and thy Muse,
That unto me dost such religion use !
How I do fear myself, that am not worth
The least indulgent thought thy pen drops forth !
At once thou mak'st me happy, and unmak'st ;
And giving largely to me, more thou tak'st !
What fate is mine, that so itself bereaves ?
What art is thine, that so thy friend deceives ?
When even there, where most thou praisest me,
For writing better, I must envy thee.
Percy Bysshe Shelley | |
An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,--
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who
Through public scorn,--mud from a muddy spring,--
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,--
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,--
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield,--
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless--a book sealed;
A Senate, Time's worst statute unrepealed,--
Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.
Robinson Jeffers | |
The mad girl with the staring eyes and long white fingers
Hooked in the stones of the wall,
The storm-wrack hair and screeching mouth: does it matter, Cassandra,
Whether the people believe
Your bitter fountain? Truly men hate the truth, they'd liefer
Meet a tiger on the road.
Therefore the poets honey their truth with lying; but religion—
Vendors and political men
Pour from the barrel, new lies on the old, and are praised for kind
Poor bitch be wise.
No: you'll still mumble in a corner a crust of truth, to men
And gods disgusting—you and I, Cassandra.
David Lehman | |
There comes a time in every man's life
when he thinks: I have never had a single
original thought in my life
including this one & therefore I shall
eliminate all ideas from my poems
which shall consist of cats, rice, rain
baseball cards, fire escapes, hanging plants
red brick houses where I shall give up booze
and organized religion even if it means
despair is a logical possibility that can't
be disproved I shall concentrate on the five
senses and what they half perceive and half
create, the green street signs with white
letters on them the body next to mine
asleep while I think these thoughts
that I want to eliminate like nostalgia
0 was there ever a man who felt as I do
like a pronoun out of step with all the other
floating signifiers no things but in words
an orange T-shirt a lime green awning
Vachel Lindsay | |
TRUE Love is founded in rocks of Remembrance
In stones of Forbearance and mortar of pain.
The workman lays wearily granite on granite,
And bleeds for his castle, 'mid sunshine and rain.
Love is not velvet, not all of it velvet,
Not all of it banners, not gold-leaf alone.
'Tis stern as the ages and old as Religion.
With Patience its watchword and Law for its throne.
Archibald MacLeish | |
Science, that simple saint, cannot be bothered
Figuring what anything is for:
Enough for her devotions that things are
And can be contemplated soon as gathered.
She knows how every living thing was fathered,
She calculates the climate of each star,
She counts the fish at sea, but cannot care
Why any one of them exists, fish, fire or feathered.
Why should she? Her religion is to tell
By rote her rosary of perfect answers.
Metaphysics she can leave to man:
She never wakes at night in heaven or hell
Staring at darkness.
In her holy cell
There is no darkness ever: the pure candle
Burns, the beads drop briskly from her hand.
Who dares to offer Her the curled sea shell!
She will not touch it!--knows the world she sees
Is all the world there is! Her faith is perfect!
And still he offers the sea shell .
Of what far sea upon what unknown ground
Troubles forever with that asking sound?
What surge is this whose question never ceases?
Edmund Spenser | |
ANd thou great Iuno, which with awful might
the lawes of wedlock still dost patronize,
And the religion of the faith first plight
With sacred rites hast taught to solemnize:
and eeke for comfort often called art
Of women in their smart,
Eternally bind thou this louely band,
And all thy blessings vnto vs impart.
And thou glad Genius, in whose gentle hand,
The bridale bowre and geniall bed remaine,
Without blemish or staine.
And the sweet pleasures of theyr loues delight
With secret ayde doest succour and supply,
Till they bring forth the fruitfull progeny,
Send vs the timely fruit of this same night.
And thou fayre Hebe, and thou Hymen free,
Grant that it may so be.
Til which we cease your further prayse to sing,
Ne any woods shal answer, nor your Eccho ring.
Edgar Lee Masters | |
After I got religion and steadied down
They gave me a job in the canning works,
And every morning I had to fill
The tank in the yard with gasoline,
That fed the blow-fires in the sheds
To heat the soldering irons.
And I mounted a rickety ladder to do it,
Carrying buckets full of the stuff.
One morning, as I stood there pouring,
The air grew still and seemed to heave,
And I shot up as the tank exploded,
And down I came with both legs broken,
And my eyes burned crisp as a couple of eggs.
For someone left a blow-fire going,
And something sucked the flame in the tank.
The Circuit Judge said whoever did it
Was a fellow-servant of mine, and so
Old Rhodes' son didn't have to pay me.
And I sat on the witness stand as blind
As Jack the Fiddler, saying over and over,
"l didn't know him at all.
Robert William Service | |
When young I was an Atheist,
Yea, pompous as a pigeon
No opportunity I missed
To satirize religion.
I sneered at Scripture, scoffed at Faith,
I blasphemed at believers:
Said I: "There's nothing after Death,--
Your priests are just deceivers.
In middle age I was not so
Contemptuous and caustic.
Thought I: "There's much I do not know:
I'd better be agnostic.
The hope of immortality
'Tis foolish to be flouting.
So in the end I came to be
A doubter of my doubting.
Now I am old, with steps inclined
To hesitate and falter;
I find I get such peace of mind
Just sitting by an altar.
So Friends, don't scorn the family pew,
The preachments of the kirks:
Religion may be false or true,
But by the Lord!--it works.
Robert William Service | |
You talk o' prayer an' such -
Well, I jest don't know how;
I guess I got as much
Religion as a cow.
I fight an' drink an' swear;
Red hell I often raise,
But never said a prayer
In all my days.
I'm honest, right enough;
Don't take no stock in crimes;
I'm jest a dockside tough,
An' yet .
an' yet sometimes,
If I should happen by
A church-door open wide
The chances are that I
Will sneak inside.
It's kin o' peaceful there,
Jest sittin' in a pew;
There's sompin' in the air
That rests me through an' through;
It does me heaps o' good
To see them candles glow,
So soothin' to the mood .
Why? - I don't know.
Unless that sittin' still
Can be a kind o' prayer;
My heart jest seems to fill
Wi' peace .
Oh, God don't care
For guys the likes o' me;
I just ain't in His line:
But when the Cross I see,
I make the sign.
Alan Seeger | |
I fancied, while you stood conversing there,
Superb, in every attitude a queen,
Her ermine thus Boadicea bare,
So moved amid the multitude Faustine.
My life, whose whole religion Beauty is,
Be charged with sin if ever before yours
A lesser feeling crossed my mind than his
Who owning grandeur marvels and adores.
Nay, rather in my dream-world's ivory tower
I made your image the high pearly sill,
And mounting there in many a wistful hour,
Burdened with love, I trembled and was still,
Seeing discovered from that azure height
Remote, untrod horizons of delight.
Anne Sexton | |
That does not keep me from having a terrible need of -- shall I say the word -- religion.
I go out at night to paint the stars.
--Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother
The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent.
The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.
They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:
into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
John Milton | |
Vane, young in yeares, but in sage counsell old,
Then whome a better Senatour nere held
The helme of Rome, when gownes not armes repelld
The feirce Epeirot & the African bold,
Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
The drift of hollow states, hard to be spelld,
Then to advise how warr may best, upheld,
Move by her two maine nerves, Iron & Gold
In all her equipage: besides to know
Both spirituall powre & civill, what each meanes
What severs each thou hast learnt, which few have don
The bounds of either sword to thee wee ow.
Therfore on thy firme hand religion leanes
In peace, & reck'ns thee her eldest son.
Belinda Subraman | |
past the hippies
past Ravi Shankar
when the first Asian snake
stiffened with sound
through some empty shell
some hollow wood
was not so much charmed
as listening intently
to the accidental flute
to that which he knew
must be female
its empty insides
with breath music
and he joined in
finding a rang of sounds
he’d never heard
and a new religion
practiced in places
where snakes are holy
is written in his tongue
Jonathan Swift | |
All folks who pretend to religion and grace,
Allow there's a HELL, but dispute of the place:
But, if HELL may by logical rules be defined
The place of the damned -I'll tell you my mind.
Wherever the damned do chiefly abound,
Most certainly there is HELL to be found:
Damned poets, damned critics, damned blockheads, damned knaves,
Damned senators bribed, damned prostitute slaves;
Damned lawyers and judges, damned lords and damned squires;
Damned spies and informers, damned friends and damned liars;
Damned villains, corrupted in every station;
Damned time-serving priests all over the nation;
And into the bargain I'll readily give you
Damned ignorant prelates, and counsellors privy.
Then let us no longer by parsons be flammed,
For we know by these marks the place of the damned:
And HELL to be sure is at Paris or Rome.
How happy for us that it is not at home!
Isaac Watts | |
Love and charity.
Let Pharisees of high esteem
Their faith and zeal declare,
All their religion is a dream,
If love be wanting there.
Love suffers long with patient eye,
Nor is provoked in haste;
She lets the present injury die,
And long forgets the past.
[Malice and rage, those fires of hell,
She quenches with her tongue;
Hopes and believes, and thinks no ill,
Though she endure the wrong.
[She nor desires nor seeks to know
The scandals of the time;
Nor looks with pride on those below,
Nor envies those that climb.
She lays her own advantage by
To seek her neighbor's good;
So God's own Son came down to die,
And bought our lives with blood.
Love is the grace that keeps her power
In all the realms above;
There faith and hope are known no more,
But saints for ever love.
Isaac Watts | |
Religion vain without love.
Had I the tongues of Greeks and Jews,
And nobler speech, that angels use,
If love be absent, I am found,
Like tinkling brass, an empty sound.
Were I inspired to preach and tell
All that is done in heav'n and hell;
Or could my faith the world remove,
Still I am nothing without love.
Should I distribute all my store
To feed the bowels of the poor,
Or give my body to the flame,
To gain a martyr's glorious name;
If love to God and love to men
Be absent, all my hopes are vain;
Nor tongues, nor gifts, nor fiery zeal,
The work of love can e'er fulfil.
Isaac Watts | |
What blest examples do I find
Writ in the Word of Truth
Of children that began to mind
Religion in their youth!
Jesus, who reigns above the sky,
And keeps the world in awe,
Was once a child as young as I,
And kept His Father's law.
At twelve years old he talked with men,
The Jews all wondering stand;
Yet He obeyed his Mother then,
And came at her command.
Children a sweet hosanna sung,
And blest their Savior's name;
They gave Him honor with their tongue,
While scribes and priests blaspheme.
Samuel the child was weaned and brought
To wait upon the Lord:
Young Timothy betimes was taught
To know his holy Word.
Then why should I so long delay
What others learnt so soon?
I would not pass another day
Without this work begun.