Strange to think The Satanic Verses Was ever even published at all. And following the subsequent string of hearses, Who would dare now have the gall ? I don’t like it myself, it’s not for me, But that’s hardly the point – It’s even more vital we keep speech free When it puts us out-of-joint. But the terrorists have won, we all self-censor, And now the Left have caught the bug – Trading-in Marx for Marks & Spencer And sweeping their principals under the rug. The truth is, they admire the power To shut down speech and cancel voices – They’ve fatwa-envy, to make us all cower For daring to stray from the authorised choices. Well, I’m just gonna come right out and say it – Islam and Woke are each a toxic trigger. Not all their adherents, let’s not overplay it, But enough, who pursue their commandments with vigour. So we really need to come down hard on apologists, Stop their political victim-blaming, As they unironic’ly draw-up blacklists, Shutting-down speech while fanning the flaming. But now we’re shocked, that someone attacked The one we attacked with ferocity, Named and paraded and finally sacked For the sin of secular blasphemy. As we clutch our pearls and wring our hands, At what could drive this murderous spate. Then we push to get a comedian banned For saying the Koran is full of hate.
To be clear, the Bible is equally hate-filled – but most Christians have the decency to be embarrassed by theirs. Sometimes this shame is subconscious, but even the most fundamental literalists will inwardly wince if you bring up –
Job 1 (God giving his approval for Satan to kill Job’s ten children for the sake of a bet), or Numbers 25:6-8 (Phinehas murders a inter-racial couple and God is appeased and stops his plague), or Psalms 137:9 (happiness comes from dashing the babies of your enemies against the rocks), and let’s not forget Deuteronomy 20:10-14 (when beseiging a city, offer peace – if they surrender, enslave them, if they resist, slaughter every male (even the male babies), and take the women and girls for yourselves) –
and mutter something about context, and ‘appropriate for their own time’, and change the subject to the New Testament – while ignoring Colossians 3:22-24 (slaves, obey your masters !).
Another atrocity, another round of blame, With the righties claiming they’re all the same, And the lefties burying their heads in their guilt, And our knee-jerk laws that are jerry-built. Another outrage, another assault, And we all us know who’s really at fault, But none of us will say – Mohammad. And Jesus. And Shiva. And Yahweh. And the dozens of others, monsters all – Let’s stop the worship, let them fall. Just why are we honouring the afterglow From the morals of how many centuries ago ? But no, don’t ban them, not a single sect – Just stop any pretence of honour or respect. Laugh at their gods, like we did before, To Zeus and Baal and Ra and Thor.
There Shall the Falcons also be Gathered, Each One with her Mate
Always it’s the peregrines that nest upon cathedrals, Like wanderers and pilgrims, or like animated gargoyles. The buzzards and the owls are a heather flock, it seems, And the pigeons are unwelcome when they perch upon the beams, And the crows about the graveyard are Satanic in their dress – But the peregrines are cherished by the bishop and the press.
Strange, but back in the Middle Ages, They were never seen about the towers – Till they left the cliffs for the factories And the belfries, once they ceased to toll hours.
Yet falcons are not very turn-the-other-cheek, They’re far more Old Testament when preying on the weak, They’re thoroughly un-kosher, yet fitting for an earl, And un-patriarchal, where the stronger is the girl. They’re sharp and unrepentant, defiantly un-bowed, As they kill the dove of peace to the cheering of the crowd.
Perhaps they’re waiting for the day when the Lord Says “Fowls in the midst of Heaven, arise ! Come gather yourselves for my supper on the flesh Of the sinners in my temple, and peck out their eyes !”
According to this page on the Natural History Museum website, the first recorded instance of a peregrine falcon ‘using a building (for its nest ?) was at Salisbury Cathedral in 1864. The title comes from the KJV, except it says ‘vultures’ instead. Many other translations say ‘falcons’, but there’s quite a spread – ‘buzzards’ in the New Living, ‘hawks’ in the NASB, ‘kites’ in the Douay-Rheims…and bizarrely, the Brenton Septuagint has ‘deer’ !
The Renaissance artist loved two things: Classical Greece, and boobs – Yet Michelangelo must fit His curves in the Sistine’s cubes. The Old Testament’s full of beards, And none of them are Zeus’s – He needs to paint some younger flesh To work-up papal juices. He can’t rely on prudish Mary, She won’t give much boost – So thoroughly pagan, thoroughly female sibyls Are introduced. Said to prophesies Jesus, Though we know the real reason – They’re soft and pale, and keep just shy Of heresy and treason. There’s plenty of other supporting cast, Presumbly cherubs and such – There’s plenty of flesh to be bared up there, All brushed with the master’s touch. Yet these are merely window-dressing, A choir of hangers-on – But the sibyls command their panels with pride, Content to be gazed upon.
Really, treason ? Well, surely in any theocracy like the Papal States, all heresy is treason…
But anyway, as everyone knows Michelangelo lay on his back for four years to paint the roof – but that didn’t stop him occassionally arsing around…
Turn the Other Cheek
God created the Sun on the ceiling, To light up the Pope’s saloon. And then he turned his back, revealing How he created the Moon.
I am the Lord your God, And I clearly lay down word and rule – Do not interbreed your cattle, Nor produce a hybrid mule – For if your beef is tough, Then that is how I mean your beef to taste, Do not allow these foreign cows To make your home-grown bulls debased. Don’t raise a mule, but make do with an ass, And a smaller pack. Don’t mix your strands, But keep your garments pure upon your back. Don’t weft your linen with your wool, And mingle threads within your hem. And though these laws be heavy, Use no mule to help you carry them.
I say again, I am your Lord, No things of yours shall fraternise – Don’t plant your field with many seeds, Or who can know what shoots may rise ? Let pagans plant their carrots with their leeks To keep them company, But I say, let yours suffer by the fly, For it is sent by me. Now let the weevil dine on fruits and grains, And slugs reduce your yields, And praise my swarming locusts As they take your monocultured fields. Do not co-plant companions, For all your crops must stand alone – Just like my hungry chosen people In this wilderness I’ve sown.
Green men – as grey as stone, All talking with their mouths full, Look in any ancient church And you may find a houseful. Part of the grotesque gallery To keep watch on us mortals – Lurking round the capitals, And hanging from the corbels.
Green men, as Pagan as they sound, As yews and birches, As nature-sprites whose temples got rebuilt As parish churches. Or are they jolly demons, greening Hell And sprouting lies ? They don’t look very evil, though – But rather rustic-wise.
Green men, as vigorous as weeds Where priests don’t mow – Though Jesus doesn’t mind, it seems, Content to let them grow. So are they harvest gods of yore, Or mistletoes in larches ? Or are they merely hunkypunks, To decorate the arches ?
In this temple of angels, We’re pilgrims in limbo, Awaiting Saint Peter to check in our baggage – To weigh out our burdens, And peer at our passports, And turn us away, or to bid us safe passage. And then we are summoned By guardian cherubim, Prodding and stripping and shriving our souls. Our pockets are emptied, Our liquids are measured – And we submit meekly, as humble as foals. So on through the pearly gates, Searching for metal, And out into Heaven, we worthy and pure. No longer unclean, We are free of all duty, Absolved of suspicion, we’re righteous once more. We browse through the magazines, Sip our espressos, And wait for our boarding as one patient crowd. And once we are seated, We are the departed – Our spirits are flying first-class to the clouds.
As the son of a dairy herd, My father told me secret words – On Christmas Eve, between ourselves , Our cattle knelt at the stroke of Twelve. “Can I see it ?” “No, too late, You’ll have to grow up first and wait. Let’s tuck you up, like the hens and geese, And leave the girls to kneel in peace.” But unlike Thomas Hardy, I Was not prepared to pass it by, And woke by chance at seven-to When bursting for the landing loo. This was my chance – I had to go, Or else I knew I’d never know – I creped downstairs, across the floor, To don my peacoat by the door. I left my slippers on my feet For I had destiny to meet !, Not a second’s hesitation Could be wasted with a lace-on. Lift the latch and out we go, Crunching softly through the snow, (Despite that day’s half-hearted thaw), To squelch across the muck and straw That filled the barn, those bovine halls, And peeked into the Winter stalls (And now I wish I’d worn my wellies) – No ! They’re all led on their bellies ! Some had rolled onto their flanks, And none had tucked beneath their shanks, And all their heads were on the boards, And none kept vigil for the Lord. Our ev’ry beast was heathen-born !, From Hyacinth to Meadowcorn, And Rosie, Daisy, Pansy too, They each and all just slept on through ! So distraught was I, so dead, I didn’t hear my father’s tread Until his hand was on my shoulder, “Seems tonight you’re growing older. I suppose I set this up, But never thought my little pup Would take my story at my word – It’s passed down with the family herd.” I tried to scream, I tried to cry But all that left my lips was “Why ?” “If you want to ask me that, It’s too late for a lengthy chat – So I will only answer once, Then off to bed and no more stunts.” “Then…then…I want to ask How deep is worn this parents’ mask ? Are all the rest a lie as well – Like Santa, Jesus, Tinkerbell ?” “Fair enough, the answer’s Yes.” “For which ?” I blurted in distress, But he just smiled, and shook his head, And carried me upstairs to bed.
Ev’rybody, listen well, It’s time to let the tellers tell – It’s time to tally, toll, and tot, To work out how much folks we’ve got. Ev’rybody, near and far, We need to count you where you are. Don’t move about, don’t clog the roads, We need you logged in your abodes. Get off those donkeys ! Park those asses ! Stop this movement of the masses ! We don’t care whose tribe is yours, Your genealogies are bores ! Whatever heritage you claim, You know, we’ll tax you just the same. So you’re descended down from David, Centuries years ago, hey kid ? But so is half the town, no doubt – You are aware he got about ? Ah well, I guess you’ve made it now, Let’s have your data anyhow –
You say you are a carpenter, And also you’re…a harbinger…? So would you be, may I enquire, Yet another Lord Messiah ? Oh, your son, you claim, not you ? I’ll put you down as Number II. But wait…I hear upon your tongue An accent…are you further-flung ?, A shibboleth upon your breath – You say you hail from…Nazareth ? You mean you live in Galilee ? Then why, by Jupiter, tell me ? Why can you Northerners not grasp, You pay your tax to Antipas ? Well yes, they all reach Rome, each load, But travel by a diff’rent road. Now please, go home !, our time is done, Now live your life and raise your son – But give to Caesar, nonetheless… So Hermes-speed, and Juno-bless.