Two old poems of mine stuck on my mind today for some reason….
He didn’t believe; he couldn’t… The wisdom of his honest heart and mind just couldn’t grasp the cruelty and nonsense of such an empty faith.
But when they understood his disbelief and took him to lock away in darkness, I didn’t even know, nor would have comprehended what they meant to do. For how could they force him to embrace a faith he couldn’t believe?
When they dragged him out into the brilliance of the day, blinking at the crowd that had gathered in the square, I watched it safe and distant in my ether space, wondering what they could do… and why it was important.
I didn’t understand; I couldn’t… when they grasped and forced him down onto his hands and knees… nor the meaning of the sharpened pike they thrust into his rear.
What was this? Did they think this public humiliation would force him to submit as the beating of a slave? Did they think to break him thus? To make him say he believed what he didn’t?
But the apostate only groaned a keening submersion of pain… not submission… and they raised him on his pike as a scarecrow in a field and left him on display.
Still the crowd watched, as with bated breath, and I did not perceive what they were watching until the sharpened pike I’d forgotten now burst through the poor man’s back.
His face a mask of pain and tears, his silently mouthed prayers are surely to some god other than the one that would wish this on him… and here I am, safe on the other side of the world, helpless to intervene.
The crowd cheered then, all of them men, shouting “Allah-ho-Akbars” to their cruelly bloodthirsty vengeful god. That was when I noticed them with loathing that in this they could participate and in any way rejoice. What pity know they, or empathy? Their humanity has died in them.
Perhaps it would be better not to know….
The women did not participate in this, though some of them would have so deep is their slavish devotion to what their men insist is right… but many I think would have abhorred this unnatural display of cruelty, yet seldom have a voice with which to object.
The women here are only shadows. If they move without at all, it is beneath the blackness of a living burial shroud, faces veiled, no perfume, and no ornaments that jingle.
Sickened with horror, I can do nothing but turn away, but in my mind’s eye I see one of those shadow women standing. She hides beneath her shroud and veils a mask to protect her and two glass vials: one of crystal blue and one colorless as water, meant for the cleansing of foul stains.
She drops her vials and the cruel crowd drops around her while the man on the pike finds sanctuary from his pain. Then, invisibly, the dark angel slips away….
Blackness mounting in the sky,
Dark mushroom of clouds,
Blotting out the sun.
Ashes like snowflakes
Blanket the cities and countryside.
Red cinders dance on breezes
Like fireflies and dying dreams.
I don’t know what I’m seeing
but the silence in me screams….
Ice will come here
In the aftermath,
The tween time meld
Of Ice and Fire,
Lore of which the old gods
Gained infamy and power.
Don’t be afraid.
For every door closed,
Every era silenced,
Another opens wide.