The only good Bible is a Dead One
Is the popular view in the commonplace channels
where a TV faithful stare on a queer
fish, fishing men out without rods, feeding sheep
shady sundaes of bleak pathologies
peddling a dying dream no longer valid

in a vale of tears where all things else
suck but success and combats of ambition
in shelter in shady harbours fed by good team ethics
here the seamy creatures winter dealing wealth in spades

whose bid for light lights up a fierce contention
tears legal wrangles; authors sharp betrayals;
whose education to the educative schools
brings there their Mammon moral worlds
bowed down to Baalim economic; truth
no longer looked-for, meaning harkened not to,

life with no pilot, Pilates all, all strapped
with stocks in barns stored up away before
their latter ends lead thither forth,
from mortal earthly sorrow:
packed aggregates of vain material large
the ballast in a nation, person, state
stands weighed here, founders wanting:

wail wicked West whose wild
incontinence indicted celebrated
as democracy spreads a paw, claws nether-half a world
tears out the innards, swallows the repast
then nip and tuck, the facial job quick done
hides from a household shame beneath a mask
and shadow play as benevolent intended
for charity’s encompassing compassion

far flung from home where charity begins
and ends, if it begun at all, where nature cries
prostrate, is sick is suffered to go on
almost as these crude annals of the poor
speak illnesses, sore plagues, contaminants of lands;
as such are paid off pittances much unhappily
a wrested succour forced with much complaining

why should the healthy rich support this caste
who never take that break that never shows
whose equal opportunity fares dined-on, eaten
scoffed: and show no self reliance, self respect?

these wholly other cattle in Sudan, and
feral fowl from burning Ethiopia
detritus on the earth feckless as sloth
face rather too much sun on horrid strands
infertile: ah! yes these folk should not till

infertile lands, and fertile get and spawn
large offspring burdening the private purse
of such who gender on this world addictive
big business booms, who whereas, wherein reap
what suits the most return, scarce little else
left lees to trickle message thus: ‘be thankful!’

this seamy species serves its busy trades,
whose bids for light lights most commensurably
fair palaces of balustrade profusions
unleash the strife, contentions, legal wrangles,
of sharp betrayal: money educates
our educative thrift enamoured schools
appropriating all the moral worth

suborning aggregating social bonds
true immaterial ballast of the state
the nation, person, understanding, weighed
it founders wanting

wail wicked West loose wild incontinence
this gala celebrated as democracy, each progress
calibrated scientifically; spread that paw,
claw a nether-half a world, next you disclaim
and nip and tuck, the facial job’s well done
that hides in indigent and age-old shame

Christ entertains no such unchartity:
attention to the man who takes no stand
on status, or degree, or place, condition; who
foresees beyond the venial masks of nip and tuck
into a place where weathering infamy
so many players make for seeming here
and nod, pour indolence on gracious God

what though his faithful faithful, sized to other shoes
who fail a worldly fit for better tasks
these walk in silent teaching under cope of Heaven
where saved are those who can be saved on bitter blood
and bread.

no scholars need be nor no almoner
the silly simple wisdom of this God is real
reality in truth, in fitness fitting; for we all
are sprung of Abel, Cain, or Father Abraham,
catched all the world, and no one turned away,
from open Heaven blithe; for living here
else also thence thereafter, on a Bible hope

maugre a passive common comprehension
that faith spells death as Bible-being dead
all innocents and madmen who aver it:

the stuff of TV mirth, and wrath, and scorning
is actual death itself, unliving, marking time,
where trains don’t show and railway lines rust, crumble
as crowded stations wait complaining times
are overdue and what’s the point of waiting
since no-one ever comes back anyway

thus this: a Bible worth its salt is one that’s dead
dead to empiric fumaroles of ire
that toils in wraps amid an anxious fatwa
enjoining on that gateway open where
new lives are bidden welcome
an everlasting journey at no charge
than venture fully human and entire
through death to resurrection and a better name
a fitter frame for life stayed on forgiving
for taking grace

these paradoxical imparities gift Bible verse
and chapter trust, confirm their Bible worth
in God, and in all lives, in spades, and in abundance
indeed in no-trumps even; to enlarge survival whole
your wonted hopes, and mending of your dreams

when we appear in prospect of love’s threshold,
with one step either forwards, backwards, and on oath