I would build a monument within Saint Peter’s, Rome – A monument to martyrs who preached heresy. Who stood by their convictions when tortured and alone On principals of science and philosophy. I would build a monument to passions unafraid When Quisitors would dowse the light they shined. Their sacrifice was equal to that which Jesus made – They gave their lives to save all humankind.
Bringing Juvelilia Week Part 2 to a close (there will be no Part 3, thankfully) is a poem inspired by Giordano Bruno, a fore-runner to Galileo and proponent of Copernican theory – who was tried, tortured and burned by the Flat-Earthers in the Catholic Church.
Apologists claim that his crime was heresy, not sol-centrism, and as late as 2000 (According to Wikipedia) Cardinal Angelo Sodano said of his inquisitors that they “had the desire to serve freedom and promote the common good and did everything possible to save his life” – well, everything short of not actually burning him at the stake, anyway. And Pope John-Paul the Second lamented “the use of violence that some have committed in the service of truth”, so that’s all right then, no harm no foul.
Incidentally, the statue above (on the very spot of his pyre) is from 1889 is by Ettore Ferrari and paid for by the local Freemasons as a deliberate middle finger to the then-Pope, who I won’t bother to name. It’s plaque contains the words Il Secolo Da Lui Divinato (From The Age That He Predicted), which is a line that any poet would be proud of, though I don’t know why it also labels our Giordano as ‘A Bruno’ – surely he was The Bruno…
Ah, those aristos, who never worked a day, Just sit back and wait for Papa to pass away. While armies of servants and hard-working-clarsses Would feed their fat faces and wipe their fat arses, And loans would be brokered to fund wars of nations, While riches would pour in from ex-slave plantations.
Ah, those aristos, who feasted on our sweat, Those patrons of the arts, that lavish social set – With artists and craftsmen and tailors and tours, And houses and horses and operas and balls. They almost were worth it, their style could defend it – They didn’t deserve it, but knew how to spend it.
Usually I resist any attempt to rhyme ‘class’ with ‘arse’, but this poem was written in with a definite accent in ear. ‘Papa’ of course should be pronounced with its stress on the second syllable. This is an early poem, but I’ve started to preach a little less and let a little satire slip in. The title incidentally comes from a line in Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George the Third.
They are the graves and the stats and the mothers And citizens living where forces are tasked – Who, we are told, so willingly suffer, And cheer on our conflict (though never get asked). Yet those who are calling for vengeance and blood – Beseeching the need for the selflessly lying Of lives-on-the-line so to hold back the flood – They’re never the ones who always end dying.
They are the facts and the doubts and worries, The objective news and the cooler-held heads – It feels like they’re all swept away in the hurry, To rumour and jingo and front-page spreads. Yet those who are calling for boots on the ground – They’re des’prate for war, just to send the bombs flying – But we can ignore them, and talk ourselves down, And all be the ones who never end dying.
I think it was written at the time of the Iraq war, and has aged as badly as the decision to fight. This now sounds very preachy – it’s still a trap I fall into when I’m angry and it rarely works. At least yhe second verse attempts to give it a bit of optomism.
Moses is a psycho, And Jesus is a wimp, Buddha is a lardarse, Ganesh is more a gimp, Mohammed is a pedo, While Mary is a prude, Yahweh is a rapist, And Paul is just unglued.
Onan is an onanist Who loves to bash the bish, Zeus a sexual preditor, Cthulu cold as fish, Ra just gives us side-eye, While Odin squints when viewed, And Allah must remain unseen Because he’s in the nude.
See all of your princes who grasp at our lives With their handshakes and greased palms and fists wrapped in cotton – They claw for a kingdom where sleight-of-hand thrives, But their fingers are crossed and their nails are all rotten. You keep all your holdings tight under your thumb As your signet-wrapped digits are stroking your beard – But grips can be prised as the years render numb, And the light-fingered upstarts are squeezing you plum, And there’s no-one to catch you when ’last you succumb – Your talons are chipped and too weak, in the end, to be feared.
May Day – the start of the long, late Spring,
When early promise at last bears shoots,
And the frigid world of the Winter King
Is losing, day-by-day, its sting,
As underground, our creeping roots
Are undermining everything.
The dawns are dawning early,
And the dark is in retreat –
A wind of change is blowing,
And to some it’s blowing sweet.
The world is waking, waking,
To the march of springing feet.
Labor Day, when the Summer turns cold,
And all that promise, though showy, is fruitless –
Or just as our efforts are harvesting gold,
So they all dry up and lose their hold –
As footings, once secure, prove rootless:
Infiltrated by bugs and mould.
The dusk is gaining daily,
And the storms are in the skies,
While the chill is on the breeze
And the breeze is on the rise,
And the world is sleeping, sleeping,
As the hoar-frosts crystallise.
Just what is it with trilbies and churches ?
Men must remove theirs, women’s stay put.
Indeed, the Bible says that women must cover –
I guess God hates each bare-headed mother.
Men, shed your turbans ! Your modesty besmirches !
At least He lets us keep worn a shoe on each foot.
(Though women are free from such moaning and wails
To sport wedding bonnets and funeral veils.)
Just what is it with toppers and churches ?
We might as well dress-down in sackcloth and soots
Than decked-out in finery, mumbling our prayers,
While tutting at any bloke hiding his hairs.
Men, lose your skull-caps ! Such hattery lurches
To thinking you’re working upon your kibbutz –
For men who wear hats are not resters, but grafters –
So the Lord wants your locks flowing free to the rafters.
Just what is it with bowlers and churches ?
Men’s heads are open, but women’s are shut.
How much of an insult is headgear undoffed ?
Does God rage in Heaven at brims left aloft ?
Men, ditch your toupees ! Our scriptural researches
Show bald-pate Elisha is nobody’s butt !
Or do we use ‘etiquette’ as a hypocrisy ?
That doesn’t sound like good manners to me !
I hope the hatted women in church also keep silenmt throughout, just as 1Cor 14:34 says to.
To defeat one’s mortal enemy,
Approach him as a friend
And speak the honeyed words of peace
And fawn and twist and bend.
In time, once his guard is down
And slower to defend,
Then draw him even closer still
With bridges on the mend.
Confuse with favoured trading rights,
And treaties by the tome,
And offer cunning compromise
Beneath his pleasure dome
By breaking bread instead of bones,
And quoting “when in Rome…”,
And beating ploughshares from your swords
To bring his harvest home.
And waiting for the trap to spring,
He will not understand
You sprung it years ago, back when
You shook him by the hand –
And now he’s caged by friendship
With no anger to command,
As your lovers take his city
And your children work his land.
But best of all, he cannot strike you back,
He is too late –
For now his precious kin are settled
All throughout your state –
For he has also conquered
When he opened up his gate,
And now can only sit and watch
His people grow-up great.