The Book of Numbers

bible book business christian
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The Book of Numbers

As a kid, I had a Bible,
But I only read the bits I knew.
Yet in the front, it listed all
The books therein, and quite a few !
I read the titles, wondering,
What ancient tales they must contain –
Though most were called by random names,
Which sounded boring, sounded vain.

But one stood out – The Book of Numbers !
Was it all divine geometry ?,
Secret cyphers ?, Sacred fractals ?,
Heaven’s holy trigonometry ?
Did it declare why the speed of light
Is the very speed it is ?,
Or how the cosmos banged so bright ?,
Or how the atoms whizz ?,
Or how entangled is the quark ?,
Or why is so much matter dark ?,
Or are the anti-particles still His ?

I should have known –
Nothing but a census, a way of keeping score.
When asked for facts, the Lord has shown
That nothing matters more than tax and war.

 

 

Work in Recess

white stacked worksheets on table
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Work in Recess

This one’s for the redraft pile –
It isn’t good, but it is a start,
And I know there’s something worth-the-while
At its heart.

Somewhere in there, something good
(Not yet, but will be) sleeps.
I dare not wake it, even if I could,
In case it leaps.

No – let it lie – let it breathe
A month – or two – or six –
Let’s let it simmer, let it seethe,
And let its image fix.

Then pull it from the memory drawer
And shake it out beneath the light,
And get to work – a lot of work, I’m sure –
But not tonight…

 

 

Keydom

antique crumpled crumpled paper dirty
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Keydom

Keyring keys of ev’ry shape,
With some for deadbolts, some for latches –
Split-ring lodgers, each one waiting
For the only hole that matches.
Take them off the circlet, though,
And whether iron, brass or chrome,
They’re all alone and naked
With no hint to tell us where is home.
Somewhere, a patient lock is waiting,
But some keys hate to be tied down –
And keys that leave the ring of safety
Rarely ever will be found.
A life of orphan-hood they chose,
Who never will be collared through their bows.

 

 

Hypocrites

LE BON SAMARITAIN
The Good Samaritan by Aimé Morot

 

Hypocrites

Many believers I know are heretics,
Spitting in the face of their Lord.
Not that they would credit my judgement,
Not that they would ever spit.
But their God, their God of love,
Is a god of hate with a jealous sword,
And His book, their book, is a pompous monster,
That they know is a monster, if they’d only admit.
Burning witches,
Slaving slaves,
And all because their Saviour saves –

But many believers I know are lovers,
Who loves the world and who loves its people,
Its ev’ry people, without exception,
When giving their time, their strength, their soul
To the homeless, hungry, the troubled and lonely,
Inspired, for sure, by their Sunday steeple.
Point to the scriptures, they shrug about ‘context’,
And get on with giving, and charging no toll.
Gays and women
Welcome here –
Despite each prophet, priest and seer.

Many believers I know are heretics –
Thank God they’re heretics !
Thank God they disobey !
Pray, God, turn all of your faithful to hypocrites,
Help them to spit, and to show You the way !

 

 

Compulsory Mechanical Licence

assorted title cassette tapes
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Compulsory Mechanical Licence

Sing it if you want to,
Cos I cannot stop you.
Pay me my royalties,
Do with it as you please.
For once a song is out there,
Then it’s out there for ev’ryone –
It’s out there for evermore,
They’re all out there together.
Until I’m dead for three score ten
And then it’s all for free forever.
But until that day,
If the author gets their pay,
Then the artist gets to sing away.
Permission isn’t theirs to grant,
And nobody tells anyone they can’t.

 

 

Was, Not-Was

subjunctive

 

Was, Not-Was

If I were to say today
If I was,
Would I generate a buzz
At my un-subjunctive ?
I doubt it.
Not to be presumptive,
But the world can live without it.
The less-pedantic folk
Have been dropping weres for years –
Not to provoke,
But only, it appears,
That they never learned a diff’rent way.
And who’s to say that what they say is wrong ?
Their meaning is as clear
To an ever over-fussy ear,
And all thanks to context –
That complex glue that helps us get along.
To make a counter-factual phrase,
They have no need for prissy rules
That sound like strays from olden days –
They do it fine with simple tools,
Without the fuss,
Without the spleen,
And ev’ry single one of us knows wholly they mean.

Don’t weep for changes in our speech –
It changed for you,
In all those words they wouldn’t teach
That once were dangerous and new.
They horrified your grandpapa, of course –
They made him jar, they made him hoarse.
But you knew better than your betters –
Broke the fetters on the Non-U,
Took these immigrants upon you,
Gave them voice and gave them force,
You let them all rejoice
And hoped they stung –
Rolling their illicit letters
Round and round your tongue.

So if I was to use the was
Is it because I like the buzz ?
But then again, perhaps
It’s more an unintended lapse,
And not a careless slur.
Or maybe I prefer
The ever-simple sound of was
I like the way she does,
So let her purr.
If that be all it is,
Or if that is all it be,
Let’s let the was be fancy-free –
As it were.

 

 

Lightweight Bulbs

wilted

 

Lightweight Bulbs

The first to life in the late of Winter,
The first to bloom in the newborn Spring –
While all the seeds are stilly sleeping,
Through the soil is something creeping.
Beneath the frost in the frigid hinter,
The bullets sprout as the robins sing –
From snowdrop first to tulip last,
By foxglove-time their time has passed.

But don’t bring bulbs indoors for Winter,
Don’t make the life for them too soft –
Or soon their show will disenchant,
With the leggy leaves of a spider-plant.
Don’t force a bulb to be a sprinter,
Rushing blooms to get aloft –
They shoot too soon, they shoot too bright,
Their heads too big, their stalks too slight.

The first to life in the late of Winter,
The first to wilt in the newborn Spring –
While those outside are stilly sleeping,
From the pots comes something leaping.
Far from frost in the humid hinter,
The sissies sprout as the carols sing –
From one-week first to next-week last,
By snowdrop-time their time has passed.