Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Scriptures and Strictures

Wordsworth said nuns fret not / at their convent walls
I imagine Christians / are equally happy
with the walls / of their lives
for Heaven waits for them / the saved
space is saved for them / infinite space
in the presence of a God / omnipotent and omniscient
which messes with my mind / not bound by faith
Is God watching me write this poem?
Is He watching you read it?
Is it part of His plan / that I marvel
at the scriptures and strictures / I myself do not believe in?
in which I myself do not believe? / because that's better grammar
another set of rules to differentiate / between how we talk
and how we write / just being literate is a threshold we must cross
and stairs to keep climbing / the great books we read in college
when we were too young / to truly appreciate the wisdom within
so limited we were / by our youth and inexperience
so we wrote poems with enthusiasm / with passion
as if we invented erotic love / or at least sex
and what was wrong / with all the old people anyway
who had given up / the pleasures of the flesh
for the mind / and they thought / and thought
and told us our poetry was no good / a vomit spreading out
it needed form / we were just playing with the net down
the tennis balls crossing that center line / with ease
it was too easy / the water needed some cold
something more solid / a little rime / a little rhyme
and how about some recognizable meter / just for good measure
and don't even get them started / on light verse
or anybody popular / so we tried that / and it was mostly too hard
we liked it soft / but then we got all heady with linguistics
and the limits of language / to convey anything
of any substance / because they are insubstantial
a human invention / like God and religion and convent walls
just words / not the real thing / even words like Beauty and God
they're intangible / vast concepts / vast beings perhaps
or maybe even something of which we can't yet conceive
because we're so limited / so finite / so the words
paltry stick figures that they are / shadows on the cave wall
of the real thing / but they'll do / because they're all we've got
so we muddle through in our one-way through time sort of way
wishing we could see the future / or recover the past
which we can't / so we make the most of the moment
this now / these words / living a life with Love and Beauty
and God too if you've got room for Him / I don't mind
because I don't judge / I'm happy within my walls
and I'll let you be happy within yours / even if I think
yours are the wrong color / and your fence a little too high

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to the Take It to the Limit prompt at We Write Poems.


  1. Thank you for this piece, Mr. Walker. I mirror many of your sentiments. As a teacher, discussions of a religious nature usually quiet me. Most of the folks in my teaching family are devout Christians. I am not, it can lead me to feel discomfort. Your piece points to the beauty in life with or without God. Again, thank you for your words.

  2. Brenda, thank you, as always, for your kind words. I think the world is so big and can hold so much; and where we find beauty has to be okay, even with people who think differently than us. And I wanted to talk about lines drawn in the sand, and then walk right over those lines.

  3. ecology is my big word,
    my wall and my hope

  4. lucychili, thanks for stopping by. I too think Ecology is a big word - and so is Hope.