The Perils of Belief According to the Meek (Tongue-in-Cheek)

Mary wasn’t wild-
there was just man, in Joseph
who sought to prophet
from a timely
mis-conception?

Give them a wide birth, let a million stars
go blind in the stable wound
of One Sun, risen and

springing wet and screaming
from the flesh of her hips,
bred with honey and wheat
the shape of her waste
was a virgin, chased
out of veins and into vanity,
bleeding into the heir,
the one and only Hymn…

(a wise man bending to pray)
(a king bending to the scent of prey)

And do some holy theories lend themselves to
idle worship?

Allusions proceed from the altar,
in answer,
from a Book with No Reservations
and some would have them starting,
altered and ending
in a place
wholly borne of illusion-

born of Creation.

Notes

This poem is quite literally intended to be tongue-in-cheek, hence the title, but only in subject matter. It’s chock-full of homonyms/homophones; some are instantly apparent, and others may not be… When thinking about how to feature words that are similar in sound and spelling, but vary in meaning, I inclined naturally towards a biblical/religious theme (Christian scripture, simply because I’m familiar with the bible stories).

Why? As a writer, I am fascinated by the intent and function of each word in context. Equally fascinating is the fact that entire religions are based on the arbitrary interpretation of ancient scriptures. Regardless of one’s faith or lack thereof, most people would grant that the human experience is clotted with disputes over the language of scripture- one only has to open a newspaper to see how ‘inter-’ and even ‘intra-religious’ conflict has led to violence and other systemic social issues.

With regard to homonyms/homophones, I was drawn immediately to their role in misapprehension of language. As in the absence of precise context in scripture, this poem demands that the reader employ their particular context to understand it. After all, I employed mine… I made choices in the spelling of these words, intentionally, to provoke alternate meanings and alternate interpretations.

Finally, the beauty of the choice to proceed with a religious theme, revealed itself as twofold: first, the tone/language of the poem evolved organically to reflect actual scripture; and lastly, this poem (hopefully) accomplishes the goal of provoking disparate reactions in readers. And to accomplish it, according to each person’s spiritual orientation in life- the very thing which tends to figure at the core of who we are, and how we see the world.

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