Long poem by
Brian Johnston | Details |
(Musings of a poet with huge doubts and a fragile faith)
Introduction: Is God A Joke Or Human Vanity?
When close friends die and other’s thoughts are suicidal,
When mankind’s soup du jour is loneliness with anguish
When mental illness, homelessness, more war, and child death
Swarm down and then attack us like a plague on Egypt,
Our tainted bread, a leavened loss, seems heaven’s judgment
And death the only path we see that seems to stop our pain.
When ministers rape children trusted to their keeping
When prideful Christians stand to mock that ‘men are brothers’
A joke if atheist, or black, but lie if foreign
When men of faith can hate both Catholics and Mormons
Deny as well that we are all our brother’s keepers
Our unwed pregnant daughters also miss protection.
As human politics and compromise are mortal sin now
No virtue left in give and take for either party,
And suddenly our finite views are God’s own wisdom
All other men with different takes on Bible’s leading
Are traitors, infidels, untouchables, satanic,
If you’re not me then you must be an earthly demon.
And am I wrong to think that God is missing somehow?
Or is it just our god who is exsanguinated
For human vanity seems now the modern flavor.
But even if the Bible is God’s truth unvarnished
How dare men claim their take on it is also faultless?
The blasphemy of this should leave the soulless cringing!
Is God then Friend or fiend? The question still is hanging!
Respect for Him obscene? Disgust His just deserving?
The judgment that awaits if we deny Christ’s coming
Is meant for human shame? Or is it there for saving?
Perhaps instead of blaming God for what life brings us
We’d profit more by working on the faults we proffered.
I. Consider: Where might God not be revealed!
I’d swear that God’s not in my parlor sipping Merlot,
And no, He’s not the tenor singing in my shower,
No burning bush or stone tablets, no writing over transom,
My house not chosen over yours because I live there,
My saint filled church less sinful than your congregation,
All human effort does not bring man God’s protection.
Injustice can’t survive his Grace or sin his Mercy,
And Sun can never set on any of God’s anger,
No evidence THAT church can pull upon His heart strings.
Do feelings have the power then to steal God from His children
Can hating God ensure you’re in a God free haven?
The things He’s not, not proof that He may not be present!
So what’s the logic linking God to man’s disasters?
Is 'free will' really such a black mark on creation?
If sin is ours alone how is it God is sullied?
Will you forgive yourself for harm you do in growing?
This God that you resist, His Heart tuned to your wavelength,
This parent that you’ve longed for, always has been loving.
II. Consider: Where might God be found!
What force could be so strong to steal Christ from His duties
Green pastures sure to mark the path with Shepherd leading
Cacophony of day cannot divert His focus.
The Shepherd loath to leave His flock if they’re in danger
Though He will not forget or leave the one that’s missing
All sheep accounted for before He sets His staff down.
The Psalmist also swears that ‘goodness and His mercy’
Are always Hallmarks of the house that God is found in,
So shouldn’t the reverse of this be God attractor
And God find rest where ‘goodness and His mercy’ flourish?
Grace pointed to by tables laden high with plenty
For even those who’ve pledged themselves to our destruction?
Then too, the Bible states that God is mankind’s suitor
His church to be Christ’s Bride (if God’s plan is not dreaming,)
His wooing us shows us Love, reveals the sacred pathways,
That guide us to our place in heaven’s verdant valleys
The wedding feast and guests, the wedding preparations,
The order of the hour in hallowed halls of heaven.
If God exists He certainly must be a part of
(Reflected without compromise in) His creation
(While holy in His eye, perhaps not more than twinkle.)
How is it then He promises His loving presence
Wherever in His name that two or more are gathered
Who seek to honor Him with works and with their praises.
III. Consider: What do we know of what He is like?
If God exists He must have been there from beginning,
And what men thought they knew, earth still, the stars revolving,
Were foibles of mere men, creation more demanding
Complexity makes newest findings too seem shaky
Reality may not exist (though models serve us!)
The truth that is revealed, the poetry of science.
A God that is complex is not new understanding
But Friend that finds us precious fires imagination
But what if our creation never was outside Him
With mankind really just existing in His daydreams?
If this were true and God were not enamored of us
A simple nap might mean the end of all creation.
IV. So where then is He now!?
If poetry can bless the models science offers,
Perhaps I’m right to think that it serves spirit also,
Imagination holy at angelic level.
To seek God’s heart in man, a path that might be chosen,
Our God revealed in works where man has left no imprint
The mystery of God perplexes as it pleases.
Perhaps you will respond to other new perspectives
A metaphor perhaps would be a fish in water.
How can an immersed fish , who’s never been without it
Imagine, ever guess its impact on life’s workings
The water gives him life, his food, and air for breathing
Is God’s Love then like air for every man to swim in?
That every man will die cannot disprove God’s Loving
Indeed how can you prove that death can even happen?
And if we all have souls then has your death true meaning?
If spirit’s flight still soars, can life be more than dreaming?
If you are still with me, I give you final issue,
If soul cannot be preached, then death is equal fiction.
March 24, 2015
Long poem by
Demetrios Trifiatis | Details |
(one of the two Delphic commands of Apollo)
For years before the narrow windows of my senses
Trying to pierce the nebulous world of outer reality,
Hoping to find GOD,
One year was following the other but I was:
I was lost in the tenebrous world of materiality’s
While the true essence of things, evasive
Persistently escaped the grasp of my confused
Unable to see behind the impenetrable veil
And disappointed with reason’s constant
My impatient voice towards the starry heavens I lifted,
Where are Thee, oh LORD?
For I have been seeking for Thee so many years now,
But I have found Thee not!
I have kept my eyes wide-open in order to see,
As many colors of Thy creation as possible,
And not even for a moment have I shut them,
For fear I missed Thy resplendent light,
But I saw Thee not!
I have kept my ears wide-open in order to hear
As many sounds of Thy creation as possible,
And not even for a second have I covered them up
For fear I missed Thy sacred voice,
But I heard Thee not!
I have kept my hands extended in order to touch
As many things of Thy creation as possible
And not even for a minute have I held them back,
For fear I missed Thy spiritual touch
But I touched Thee not!
I have kept my nostrils wide-open in order to scent
As many perfumes of Thy creation as possible
And not even for an instant have I held my breath
For fear I missed Thy holy aroma
But I scent Thee not!
I have become a famed gourmet in order to taste
As many delicacies of Thy creation as possible
And not even for an hour have I withheld my appetite
For fear I missed Thy heavenly feast
But I tasted Thee not!
Then, the thunderous voice of the Lord,
Coming deep down from the twilight of time,
Tearing the eternal heavens apart
Answered me and said:
Dear innocent child of Mine; hasn’t time taught you,
That I am neither to be seen by eyes
Nor to be heard by ears?
That I am not to be touched by hands
Nor to be scent by nostrils?
That I am not to be tasted by palates
But I am only to be felt by enraptured hearts?
Trembling and puzzled, in a shaky timid voice,
I dared ask:
How could this be done, oh Lord?
For I am so weak and ignorant, I do not know
And the compassionate voice of the Lord answered me
Don’t call yourself weak and ignorant for
I have endowed you with power and knowledge
You have only to unearth this incalculable treasure
Hidden deep down in your soul and you will be
In touch with Me, with eternity, with the universal law,
With the light, with the truth and every single existence,
But first you have to listen carefully to what I command:
Close your eyes for they cannot see Me
And cover your ears for they cannot hear Me
Pull back your hands for they cannot touch Me
And hold your breath for it cannot scent Me
Shut your mouth for it cannot taste me
And stand completely still in order for you
To sense Me
At once I rushed to Obey His divine command, so:
I closed my eyes and saw no more
And covered my ears and heard no more
I pull back my hands and touched no more
And held my breath and scent no more
I shut my mouth and tasted no more
And stood dead still for a moment,
Just for a moment alone!
I felt His ethereal presence enveloping my heart
And I saw His celestial light caressing my mind
And I heard His heavenly voice calling to my spirit
And I touched His angelic essence with my elated thought
And I scent His seraphic aroma with my sacred, now, breath
And I tasted His rapturous divinity with my blissful soul.
Then, immendiatly, the gates of revelation opened their
And in a magnificent lofty parade, in front of my soul’s
The mysteries of life, one by one, were unveiled to the last
Thus making everything known.
And now my enraptured self, jubilant before the eternal truth,
In ecstasy exclaims:
Thank you, oh Lord for showing me Thy blessed Essence,
Thank Thee, for I know Thee now!
And the Lord enigmatically smiled at me and with His
Divine thought tenderly declared:
No my loving child, you only know YOURSELF!
© Demetrios Trifiatis
Long poem by
Dorine R Spruill | Details |
Molested the first fifteen years of my life. My mother remained silent the whole time. As the molesting continued all those years. Forced to live a pretend life all my childhood. Beaten and punished every other day. For no reason other than being a child. After all this I figured I was a unwanted child. My mother couldn't love me abusing me. She brought me fancy expensive clothes every year. To cover up all her verbal, mental, and physical abuse. She tried to hide me from people, family and friends. So that they wouldn't see the embarrassing scars and bruises. Sometimes so bad I couldn't even go to school the next day. Or I would get into fights or act rude to get a suspension notice. That would have allowed my body to heal. One time I even tried to get ex-spelled. However, it didn't work. I only came home to more beatings. Her boyfriend watched and help hold me down on the floor as she would beat, and beat, and beat. Maybe this gave him a idea that it was ok to abuse me. Being that my mother was already doing it. Yeah! From the outside looking in my childhood was perfect. Every child wanted my seat. Name-brand clothes, shoes, computers, and almost every toy in the Jc Penny catalog. From the inside looking out I was screaming to get out. Scared, alone, abused, and still a child. So there was nothing I could do. I had no brothers or sisters at the time. All my family wouldn't believe me.No! Not him they would say, and did say at age fifteen I started getting older, and more developed. I had to put a stop to this. So after talking to some school friends. I decided to talk to my mother about what was going on. So later on that night I called my mother in to talk to her. I had told her what had been going on. while she was a work, and out late shopping. She in return asked me to draw a picture of his *****. As if she didn't believe me on the spot. What! I thought to myself. How could she ask me a thing like that? After one hour she finally called the police. I was brung in also for video questioning. I told them what had been going on in the house while my mother was away. The police in return asked me "what took so long for me to tell" I replied" I was scared, alone, and threatened. I had no one in the house to protect me. From my mothers abusive ways. I thought people would tease me." The next question was to my mother. The police asked "How could you live in the same house, and not know that your child was being raped?" My mother sat quietly and had no answer. So she got charged with neglect. My mother's boyfriend got charged with child molestation, and a few other things. I can't remember them all. After all that I was still scared, but finally free. Free to be a kid again.
Awh, hell the relationship between my mother and I went down the drain. After trial she hated me even more. Every day she was threatening to kick me out of the house. I was only sixteen so she couldn't just kick me out. Yet! She even got so angry at times. She went as far as not letting me communicate with my newborn brother. She even told people to keep him away from me. That hurt me so bad everyday. I prayed to God everyday to soften my mother's heart, but it never happened. When I turned eighteen she finally kicked me out the house for real. With no place to go, no money , and no food to eat. I ended up living with family and friends until she let me back in. I don't know why, but I thought things had changed. About a week after moving she called the police and told them that I was prostituting. Which was a lie. Thank God I didn't spend time in jail. Due to her lies and deceit. I never thought I would have to leave my own mother alone. However, after that incident that was my final decision. Sporadically I call her to hear her voice, and check on my brother. Unfortunately she never answers the phone. Her guilt for abusing me won't let her answer the phone.
I moved to Albany, NY for a fresh start. A new beginning! There I met more friends, moved into a brand new apartment, and fell in love. I wasn't expecting to fall in love, but I did. With a adorable, hot, and sexy Italian guy. For the first time my life was great, and I was happy. I even tried some plus size modeling, nursing, and I started self-publishing my writings. I was accomplishing things that my mother never encouraged me to do.
After about four years I started feeling homesick . So I came back to Virginia. Wow! What destruction was happening. My whole family fell apart. Nothing or nobody were the same. They all became police property. That was a sign to continue to stay away from them. Continue my happy life. Continue self-publishing my stories. Praying to God everyday. that I remain successful. This is a true story. Unfortunately it happened to me. From a mother who brung me in this world. Only to use and abuse me my whole entire childhood. Then pretend that nothings even going on.
Dorine R Spruill
Long poem by
Brian Johnston | Details |
The finite contemplating the infinite
The stardust male and female still flush with light
From exploding stars, seeding new possibilities, our true progenitors.
So that even God Himself must take note of our passing (in its season),
Such elemental purity of spirit, such shining stock do we hail from.
Thinkers cannot grasp the number of galaxies the universe holds
Let alone name them or divine their future, human brains too slow,
More galaxies than all the grains of sand from every beach on the planet.
Where once this metaphor was applied loosely to stars alone,
Now galaxies are what might be counted, counting stars unimaginable.
Oh we are clever and have our tricks to make us look wise,
Like when we prove that one kind of infinity is bigger than another,
But all infinities are truly beyond our ken, mere children who count
‘One, two, three, many,’ and think we have accomplished something.
In our childish wonder we are only newly aware of galactic reach,
Theoretically sure now that our universe does have a furthest edge,
But totally unaware of its dimensions or of its actual shape.
New maps of different galaxy locations in space surprise us too
As the distribution of galaxies follows an unimagined ribbon like pattern.
Galaxies are NOT evenly distributed throughout the mapped universe
But shoot off in flares like star shells on the 4th of July!
We are dreamers who woke one day to discover that once fixed stars
Are now time machines to those with eyes to see, revealing our past,
And to those with ears to hear comes the certain knowledge of the Big Bang.
Now, vision enhanced by scientific revelation, we can share with God,
‘Seek and you shall find,’ being the foundational faith of Science,
The wonders of this creation, several billion years past, naked before us,
As if we were there, reveling in its wonders (though now a cosmic rerun),
Sharing a nice glass of Merlot with God in front of His Big Screen,
(The miracle of buttered popcorn always tender, hot, and fresh! Yum!),
Looking back to times when even laws of physics had not matured yet,
Laws, which, perhaps, like human beings, still evolve, biding their time.
But tantalizingly fresh is the QUESTION of other universes
Which now skips across the surface of human thought horizon like a stone
Every bounce suggesting another universe’s possibility,
And every impact seemingly perfectly elastic, with no loss of energy,
Leaving another new universe in its wake,
Rippling outward like concentric waves from a whale’s breach,
On a salt sea/air interface that reflects our astonishment like a mirror!
God’s kind of Poetry, a window into infinity,
A scaled down version of Divinity, almost human in fact,
The footprints of God’s Son along a sea curving with the earth’s surface,
Distant realities always just out of sight, but there still.
Calling us into service, calling us too to be Fishers of human souls,
To love to heights and depths beyond our understanding,
And in so doing, to in fact become God’s Children,
Trusting Love, knowing Love, feeling Love, giving Love…
Millions of Prophets, Buddhas, Saints, Poets, all siblings of the Christ,
A living poem, universally true, surfeit of God’s imagination,
Novice initiates of a Grace that fills every nook and cranny,
Penetrates all flesh, all bone, and saturates soul like a sponge.
September 19, 2014
Although this poem was originally intended to be entered into my 'God's Kind Of Poetry' contests both on PoemHunter.com and PoetrySoup.com (yes I am running a similar contest on both sites), its length takes it out of the running as does Diane Hine's remarkable poem (also on PoemHunter.com) by the same name. I proudly proclaim the value of her poem, however, as a remarkable example of where a Poet's imagination can take them and strongly recommend it to readers on PoetrySoup as well. And of course it makes no sense for me to judge my own poem here on PoetrySoup.
I also invite members of PoetrySoup.com to compare the differences between the two contests. Although my contest on Poemhunter.com is the first one I have heard of and I got the idea for it from PoetrySoups.coms Member Contests, I think it is quite a remarkable improvement to the contests on PoetrySoup because members, not contest sponsors determine the winners and because voters are asked to justify their votes. These justifications are also published (along with every poem entered) and can be very amusing as well.
Long poem by
Magnus Nwagu Amudi Esq | Details |
The year that is about to make its last appearance
before it dies and is buried to be only given a place
in the history of our existence has brought ?e joy,
l° shall therefore, out of obligation rather than
leisure acknowledge its fairness and generosity. It
began on a high as l° aimed to make it through the
Bar exams and to be successfully called to the
Nigerian Bar. This singular goal, controlled all
others and made them seem less important. In the
end, the story ended greatly, we all do love happy
endings, l° am a Barrister and Solicitor of the
Supreme Court of Nigeria. To God be the glory.
Yet, the most important aspect of the year wasn't
the fact that l° became a Barrister, rather, it is the
fact that through the demanding and rough
journey of reaching and achieving that goal, along
came people of great personality, people l° knew
had the character to spur you on and literally uplift
you both psychologically and in every other positive
way possible. For the first time in my life, l° was
opened to the richness of the earth's diversity, both
in religion as well as in culture. l° even spoke new
languages and danced to new tunes. l° was given a
new eyes, l° did see the world from another
perspective, it was thrilling and l° came to see the
blessing in the cultural and ethnic differences. But,
the crux of the essay being friendship.
The year 2012, gave ?e the most supportive,
reliable and cheerful individuals to work and also
relax with. These people not withstanding their
different social, religious and academic background
did with ease find a common ground and built a
strong fold for friendship. There were moments no
doubt during the year when it would have been
quite impossible to move ahead without the
support and undying motivation of these
individuals, as l° do stand at this bridge, about to
cross to the other end of the journey, l° would take
a few minutes to say a very hearty thank you to all
of you. From my parents, without whom there will
be no Barrister attached to my name, words fail
?e. l° do say a big thank you. To my siblings who
went out of their own financial obligations to
support ?e through the difficult but productive
year, l° am ever indebted to all of you jointly and
severally. For a friend like no other, master
Chinasa Orji, let your heart desires become reality
unto you bro and the same gratitude goes to the
entire Orji family. l° will now try as much as l° can,
to mention a few of those whose friendship,
alleviated the burden of the journey through 2012,
and l° say the list is not quite chronological, l° just
add to it as l° do remember, these persons include
but not restricted to:
1. Mazi Ezegamba Esq.
2. Mr. Frank Somto Esq. (Ajo anu)
3. Okpara Chinedu Esq.
4. Mallam Abubakar Lawal EsQ
5. Mr. Yage Bamiyi Esq.
6. Adesola Adelusi Esq. (Miss)
7. Amarachi Esq.
8. Tony Amaechi Ojukwu (Esq. )
9. Sir Nnanna JOJ Oketa (Esq).
10. Richard Bassey Iyaha (Esq.) - God bless you
11. Chinelo Ogbozor Esq.
12. Churchill Udedibor Esq.
13. Henry Onugwu Esq.
14. Forster Eneh Esq.
15. Kingsley Chime Esq.
16. Mr Magnus Akabueze
17. Emmanuela Oraegbu Esq.
18. Nonso Nzedebe Esq.
19. Orji Ukah Agwu Esq.
20. Chinedu Ezeokoronkwo Esq.
21. Emmanuel Okoroji Esq.
23. Onyinye Nnorom Esq.
24. John Daramola Esq.
25. Chisom Nnabuife Esq.
26. Ebikaboere Abiri Esq.
27. Tobi Esq. - Mi consigliere
28. Michael Dokpesi. Esq.
29. Mr Idowu
30. Mr. Majemite Emoubonovie Esq. - very
31. Mr. Samson Itodo Esq
32. Muna Nweke
33. Da silva Joy
34. Kingsley Uwakwe Esq.
36. Kaobi Esq.
37. Chinwe Ozobu Esq.
38. Ifesi Udeh Esq.
39. Ihezi Okeafor
40. Ezekiel Egbo
41. Chima obiEze Esq.
42. ID Kabasa - my esteemed barber
43. Mary Alice Simms
44. Victor Mok Esq.
45. Bukky Esq.
46. Josh Olomo Esq.
47. Edosa Esq.
48. Detola Esq.
49. Bassey Bassey Esq.
50. Sammy Udoh. Esq.
51. Sabastine Udoh Esq.
52. Iyke Ananuba Esq.
53. Kingston Esq.
55. Victor Idiong Esq.
56. Mariam Ekenimoh Esq.
These and many more people that l° can't put all
here for the lack of time and to make it less boring
to read really and honestly contributed to my
success in making this year count and l° pray that
the year we are about to witness and explore will
bring us more reasons to celebrate, love and
Do have a great NEW YEAR.
Magnus Nwagu Amudi Esq
Long poem by
Joe Flach | Details |
I have been praying to God ever since I first understood the concept of a deity. Although I have struggled through life with my acceptance of and belief in the religion I was force fed as a child, the praying has always stayed with me – on an almost every day basis. In some way or some form or for some reason, it seems, I find myself praying to a God I am not sure I believe in.
Over the years, some of the things I have prayed for or prayed against have worked out in my favor. Other things didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped. So, I wondered, was this proof that my prayers are sometimes answered or simply the law of averages? It really didn’t matter, I was programed to pray and so pray I do.
This has been going on pretty routinely for over 50 years; so, imagine my surprise when, for the first time last night, God talked back to me!
I may not get this exactly right, but, in essence, this is what He had to say:
(I am not sure what font to type God’s words in, so I will just keep on with the default.)
“Joe, Joe, Joe. I have been listening to you for all your life. And, whereas I do enjoy your thoughts; your words; and your sentiments; I find it is time for me to respond.
You really do pray a lot for lots of things. Mostly good and humane things. Mostly with a pure and caring heart. But, son, you need to stop doing so much praying and start doing more stuff on your own. I am not up here to make your life easier and to do things for you.
When you were young, instead of praying for that bicycle, you should have been doing chores to earn money towards buying it. You could have cut more lawns, washed more cars, got a paper route, sold lemonade, or many other things other young boys were doing to earn money for the things that they wanted.
When you were in high school and prayed to me to help you do well in your wrestling matches, you should have, instead, been working harder at practice; spent more time on your conditioning; spent more time in the weight room; and studied harder on the art of wrestling.
In college, when you prayed for help on your mid-terms and finals, you should have, instead, spent more time studying and less time partying – I think that is something you already know.
Even when you pray on behalf of others – you should be doing more.
Instead of praying I would help old Mrs. Conner at the end of your street, you should have gotten up off your butt and walked down to the end of the street and looked in on her yourself. You could have offered to go to the store for her, pick up her prescriptions or simply keep her company in her final years.
When you prayed for me to care for the starving children around the world, you should have been volunteering to help out yourself or donating more money towards this cause. If you funneled all the money you spent on unnecessary junk food and extra meals you consumed throughout the years towards charities that help feed and clothe the poor, you could have saved many of the children you prayed that I would save.
Instead of praying that I cure your family, friends and acquaintances that you knew were ill or dying, you should have been visiting them in the hospital or writing them letters or providing assistance to their loved ones to help ease their pain.
Prayer is not the vehicle for you to be lazy and yet gain the rewards. Prayer is not a means to have me do for others what you have the power and ability to do yourself.
I am glad that you talk to me, but you have been granted the ability and means to do so much more by yourself and yet you choose to take the easy way out and pray to me – the God that I know you are confused about. Please, do me a favor, and before you pray, ask yourself, ‘Have I exhausted all avenues available to me to achieve the result I want God to perform?’
If, after you have done everything you can possibly do, then I may be more willing to consider what it is you ask for.
And now, my son, you can wake up.”
I sat up quickly in my bed, sweating and confused. Was I just dreaming? Was that really God talking to me? Then, somewhere from deep inside, either from my conscious or a left-over message from the Almighty Himself, I thought (or heard): “What does it matter? Whether it was God or not – the message is valid and something I probably already knew.”
“Well,” I said to myself, in prayer, “I will give it my best. But, is it okay if we still talk? It kind of helps to give me strength?”
I will take that as a, “Yes”.
Long poem by
T Wignesan | Details |
Translation of Oothukkadu Venkata Subba Iyer (circa 1700-1765)’s « THAYE YASHODA » by T. Wignesan
This devotional song and poem in Tamil (the principal Dravidian language which has spawned over twenty languages in the southern Indian sub-continent) is –unlike
Western poetical traditions – strictly composed to accord with
set musical rules and conventions, melodies and rhythms/beats (ragas and taalams), much as Tamil poems are required to adhere to complex and elaborate classical Tamil prosody and conventions (ethugai and monai, initial rhymes and alliteration). This poem is a plaint by Gopi cowherdesses who are « molested » by the mischievous Krishna.
The Tamil language which has a continuous and prolific literary corpus on record dating from centuries before our common era is – on a par with Sanskrit – an officially-recognised classical language of India.
The transliteration cannot however convey to the non-Tamil ear the euphonic qualities of the poem, so I give here a link to a rendition of the song/poem by Sudha Ragunathan for those who may be interested – the Carnatic ensemble here being made up of the mridangam (drum), the tambura (stringed-instrument which keeps time in the background), the flutes (both in bamboo and brass).
There are, of course, many notable versions of this song, such as, by Karthik or by K. S. Chitra, among others, but, I’m sure, none will grudge Sudha Ragunathan her very inspiring execution, sustained by the faithful mridangist.
From a Hindu-and-Tamil point of view, the Brahmin poet here (born at Needamangalam, near Mathurai, the ancient cultural centre of Tamil culture) cannot easily be excelled by any of his compatriots, even after three centuries.
O ! Mother Yashoda* ! – in whose cowherd caste Mayan*
Listen to this plaint of pranks he plays
Anupallavi (refrain) :
Oye ! the novelty ! O ! Mother ! What ethereal goings-on !
Listen ! No child – ammamma* ! like yours in this wide world
Have I ever laid eyes on !
Caranam (stanza) One :
Anklets jingling – bangles clinking – pearl necklaces rustling
He descended on the street entrance
Heavenly bodies rejoicing – Earthly beings eulogising
Feet and hands rhythmically moving to the beat
He, the blue-hued Kannan*, He came dancing* entranced
« Balan* » I called leaping to welcome Him - O! Yashoda!
(And) taking me for the host who garlanded Him
Planted He a kiss on my lips
Is not He ? Krishnan* ? who plays these many pranks
Your son ? Even in the presence of four eavesdroppers
O ! what shyness overwhelms me ! while this plaint I lisp
Caranam (stanza) Seven :
As dusk fell the day before yesterday feigning familiarity
He came close and performed many magical feats
Even if the butter were a mere glob in size, says He would leave
If I could let him have it (then) He touched my frontal knot
(Or sari's end-knot) and undid it - defiant in spirits
Yes, that indeed was the Vasudevan* ! O ! Yashoda !
Yet mistaking Him for a human child
I cradled Him in my lap, there to nurse
(And) while watching bewitched His glorious face
He revealed to me in his mouth all the vastness* of the Universe !
* « Yashoda » : the baby Krishna’s foster-mother, belonging to the cowherders’ caste.
* « Mayan » : another word for God
* »GopalaKrishnan » : Krishna’s full-name, the most adored deity in the Hindu pantheon..
* « Krishna » : supposed to be the eighth Avatar of Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe in the Hindu Trinity of the Godhead Brahma.
* »ammamma » : « amma » is the formal address by children to their mother, but, here, the repetition can invoke both astonishment and disbelief.
* « Kannan » : the familiar pet-name for Krishna.
* « Balan » : yet another pet-name for Krishna.
* « narttya » : the art of classical dance, referring most probably to the southern Indian
style, known as Bharatha Natyam, in which Krishna is featured dancing with his wives Radha and Rukmini, according to legend, of course..
* « Vasudevan » : another name for Krishna.
* "vastness" : by this one word I have tried to convey what in Tamil is an elaborate image of "God (Indra) having created the two-times-seven worlds"
Long poem by
Evan Perkins | Details |
Thankfulness: the opposite of complaining
This isn’t going to come easily, it will take a little training
It’s the concept of being content with all that we own
And being grateful for all the love that God has shown
We so often think that our lives are so rough
Because we are so focused on getting, because we think we don’t have enough
But stop and take a look around
You’re sitting alive in luxury safe and sound
We really don’t understand how fortunate we are
We have food, water, a house, and usually more than one car
There are millions upon millions of people less fortunate
People that we don’t share our fortune with
There are people out there who have absolutely nothing
And this is for real, I’m not bluffing
They’re not sure where they are going to get their next meal
Take a minute and imagine how that must feel
C’mon, let that sink in
And that’s only one place I can begin
So many people are completely broke, struggling to survive, have failing health, live in way, and have nowhere to live
And you’re trying to say that YOU have nothing to give?
We sit here in our beautiful homes, brand new clothes, full of food, iphone in hand
While there are people out there who are too sick and weak to stand
Now to this, how are we going to react? Cause this sure isn’t fiction, it’s 100% fact
Are we going to ignore this and just sit around?
Are we comfortable just sitting in the background?
I say as children of God we need to take action
We need to get out there, not being swayed by every little distraction
Serving and giving generously to others doesn’t follow “The American Dream”
But maybe that’s not the right way to live, as though it may seem
I say it’s time for us to lay down our pride
Are you going to serve? It’s your turn to decide
We are all one body, we all have the same worth
That’s true for all the people here on earth
By Jesus we are called to love and not just sit around
Cause when we die, we don’t want to be just another corpse in the ground
In James chapter one we are called to serve the orphans and widows in their distress
We know exactly what to do, we don’t need to guess
Now this subject I really want to address
And my feelings, I want to express
If we were really thankful for all that we own
We would be OK to step out of our comfort zone
And if we are truly grateful
We would serve others in any way we are able
By doing this, we express our care for those who need it
That we can go out and DO something, we actually believe it
I may have just rambled on, but I wanted to make a point
But now you know my personal viewpoint
Now I’m not just talking to you, this also applies to me
So often I don’t fill the role I was called to be
But I believe that thankfulness isn’t just an emotion, it requires action to make it true
So now here’s the big question, what are you going to do?
Are you going to get out there or continue to stand on the sideline?
Are you going to be absolutely thankful or continue to whine?
You can try to convince yourself that people are fine
But think about it while on that $50 meal you dine
You can help change a life for pennies a day
That’s right, only one dollar a month you have to pay
“Dollar for the Poor” is an organization that’s making a change
Only one dollar a month? That just sounds strange
But it’s true, they’re making an impact
What if we all heard this and could properly react? One dollar a month and you can change a life
For that little donation, you can save someone from a cycle of strife
But it’s not just about money, it’s also about giving your time
This is real talk, not just a pantomime
There are so many things we aren’t thankful for every day
What if all of it was suddenly stripped away? Could we still be thankful and love God without all our stuff?
Will his constant love and providing actually be enough?
Our thankfulness shouldn’t be based off our prosperity or wealth
We so often blame God when loved ones have failing health
We should be thankful for the lives that we already live
Because God’s perfect gift of salvation is the best anyone can give
So don’t forget today, offer God your true thanks for life and your daily bread
Because apart from him, we would be left for dead
Long poem by
Edmund Woods | Details |
My physical self is pitiful
I have been incapacitated since an early age
Inadequate in every regard
My body is a useless shell
Luckily, this place is beyond basic physicalities
This place transcends the grim and darkness of reality
This place is my world
I am the creator of this realm
I am Alpha and Omega
No longer do I answer to the call of another God
Now, I can correct prior transgressions
And eliminate the pain that made that world flawed
My iteration of man shall be eased of suffering
They will not have to plead with their God
As I have
I was useless
A joke for the ignorant
A burden for the willing
Never again shall there be ignorance
Never again shall life be a burden
Life is a gift
A most precious gift
Well, I must admit, I do need some more practice
But in time, humans will be my angels
The world needs more than only man
An ideal ecosystem
A cycle of life of death
But death shall be quick and painless
And their lives will be treated with respect
Hand in hand- excuse me- Hand in paw
Animals and man shall work together
To maintain balance in this world
Balance is essential
To complete this world, there must be laws
Laws incredibly similar to the ones of my past world
But, there shall be new laws
New laws that the universe must abide by
One: Killing will never be sport
Two: Destruction of my world by the hands of man
Shall never take place
Three: All life is in control of their life
I never had control
I was always a puppet
A figurine on display for the amusement of others
Sovereignty is guaranteed, disease will be ridden
Perhaps the most important part of my world
It contains the mysteries of the universe
And maintains the order of nature
The secret guardians
The hidden monoliths
No one knows their true purpose
Some just like to stare
But they are my titans
There to look over mankind
Well, this is my world
What do you think?
I say it’s beautiful
Some may say it’s superficial
That imperfections and true pain
Can never be suppressed
Even by a God
I assure you, this world is perfect
I have not made the same mistakes
I know the evil of that world
That evil has died with this creation
Is it not pure evil that I was a spectacle?
That I couldn’t use my body?
It was a damn trick
It was cruel
To have such a functioning brain
But useless because of my dysfunctional body
I was a waste in that world
But when I discovered I could create a world of my own
I knew there was still hope
My mind was merely a playground
Now, it is a field for creation
A place where life will begin anew
Life will always live in happiness
Misery is nonexistent
Man is perfect
Man will always be useful
Animals are not only tools
They are integral to the purpose of this world
Nature shall never again pull cruel tricks
It will maintain the perfection that I have created
There will be no bickering amongst the stars
The cosmos are there to protect man
From everything that destroyed me
I never want mankind to suffer again
I have been through too much suffering
I have seen too much suffering
This world will be perfect
It gives me hope
Hope that no one else
Will ever experience what I have
But I am no fool
I know that when I die
This place will die with me
This is all just in my head
All I want is a haven from that worldly misery
The same worldly misery
That made me resent God
What is the purpose of life
If that’s the kind of life some may have?
I would have killed myself long ago
But I can’t even express my desire to do so
I hate myself
I hate the world I live in
I want to die
Hell awaits me
For I have been blasphemous
I have cursed the life I was given
While I still curse my life
I am joyous for those given a happy life
Life is a gift
A most precious gift
Long poem by
Brian Terry | Details |
I see no reason for a god
Indeed for any type of god at all
I look around at all the churchmen
The pompous richly dressed ones
And wonder what their founder would have thought
And then at the other end
The shabby unpretentious lot
More primitive, more fundamental and literal
They have however one thing in common
Unshakeable belief in their virtue
and in their God who’s always there
Despite the evils and the sorrows in this world
They prate so endlessly
Sin as defined
in their narrow mind
They cheerfully pray that we can overcome some other systems of belief
by force sometimes.
How can they justify the killing and the torture of other humans?
by their beliefs they are all God’s creatures.
Nobody knows for sure how life was started
But from a simple single cell
We evolved until we’re here
But few accept the clear evidence for evolution
And what about the soul
Of which they speak
What is it?
Where did it come from?
Where does it reside in us?
Where does it go?
Or does it die with us?
That’s if it’s there at all
But my friend you’re just as bad
Your position, or as so stated, is rigid and admits no other view
I’m with you
I also reject the Churches
They are only human constructs
And have been a source of evil
I don’t know if there is a God
A personal God who cares for us
Or any other sort of god
But until I know for sure
I keep an open mind
Where did we come from?
Again I do agree with you
Why did the first cells appear and how?
I do believe and have some evidence
That there is something in our nature
Which yearns for more
Is this a soul?
You really are quite wrong
The simplest hypothesis
The one with least assumptions
Is that something outside of us
Maybe two string theory ‘branes
By chance collided
And brought our universe into being.
Or maybe some vast, uncaring intelligence
Caused in some way unknown creation and then
Left uncaring, uninterested.
If there is an environment friendly to some form of life
It seems to start but we do not know why or how
This cannot be
My holy book tells all
There is a God
He cares for us
It says so right here
He created all
Us and the animals
And gave us dominium overall
You worry about the sin and suffering
You cannot know God’s purpose
How dare you take HIS holy name in vain
All three of you will burn in hell
We didn’t marry for philosophical debate
We married, as we thought for love
He spends all day and often all night
Thinking about, what to us, is unthinkable
What about us?
What is our function?
Is it just to cook and clean?
To run the houses?
To do the shopping?
We all decided that this was not good enough
We started to go together to dinners and to dances
We each met a man we called them Hedonist
They made us laugh and feel like girls again
And then one day
We found there were not four Hedonists but one!
This was a shock
But after long and painful talks
We decided that we didn’t care
And would just share.
After all we did not love him
Nor he loved us
We all became friends but with privileges
But never more than one at once!
I listen to them talk
Their weighty conversation
It is so bloody boring
Never any realisation.
I do not concern myself with such considerations
Life is far too short
And anyway I’ve got to know their wives
They are bored stiff with their deliberations
And bored indeed in bed
So one by one I’ve wined them
So one by one I’ve dined them
So one by one I’ve danced with them
And one by one I’ve slept with them
There’s Stella, Dorothy, Abigail and Claire
They set the rules
Just good fun
Fine by me
As long as nobody gets serious
At that so important final moment
They don’t cry out
A random quantum fluctuation
Or an entity full of hesitation
Or then a again a being so barren
Or even worse a jealous god, primitive man’s last bastion
They shriek out loud
Sometimes my name
Or sometimes it’s just Oh you bastard!
Or sometimes it’s just Oh you animal!
Or now and again Please stop O stop you devil
Then I know my duties done