A couple of weeks ago, as we were driving somewhere, my son asked me to turn on the song “Zombie” by Cranberries. As we listened to the song, I suddenly was overwhelmed with a sense of profound connection with the entire humanity. I felt connected to all the 7+ billion of people on this planet. I felt completely one with that huge, multifarious organism called “humankind”. That took me by complete surprise.
I don’t think that I have never experienced that sense of unity with humanity before. It was very meaningful to me. A day or two later, I wrote this poem.
The poem’s uneven and somewhat jagged construction and varying rhyming schemes are meant to be expressive of the sense of beauty and diversity which exists in this world. Some stanzas and even some lines overlap and dovetail with one another, and this is done on purpose. This is illustrative of how different persons and people groups dovetail with one another to form one symbiotic organism. The poem’s cadence builds its pace to a crescendo to highlight a sense of urgency before the final stanza.
IMAGE OF GOD
Religion with its plastic smile
Numbs our mind, and rapes our soul,
And leaves a gaping, bleeding hole
Where our heart once used to be.
It builds big buildings. It produces
A stream of talks and printed pages.
It worships books with guilded edges
Which can’t legitimize its crimes.
It lets us keep our greed, our judgments,
To Western sins it dulls our mind
Shuts off compassion, leaves us blind
To human suffering next door,
Across the street, across the world –
A starving child with bloated belly,
Old man, disabled, hungry, smelly,
A teenage girl with skimpy skirt
Who sells herself to feed her baby,
Parting her knees a thousand times –
Dehumanized for mere dimes
So that they can both survive
Another day. That they may eat
Some rice, and look up to the sky,
With tears rolling from their eyes,
And pray to God to save them from
That vile horrendous life of pain,
That’s only fitting for a dog –
Unless the dog is groomed and spayed,
Is up to date on its immunizations,
And has a collar with its owners name.
Then even that comparison won’t hold.
In truth, today we all need told
That every human, quite regardless
Of everything in which they differ
From me and you: in how they vote,
In how they think, how they emote,
In who they love and how they love,
In how they sin, and how they don’t,
In all of this, they never lost
That which is certainly the most
Important thing about each person –
Their image of Creator God,
Who made us all in his true likeness.
He did came down, that he may find us,
That we may contemplate his smile
By looking in each other’s eyes,
By kissing dying people’s faces,
By being not as cold as graceless
As we once were. By feeling pain
When others bleed, and feeling joy
When others laugh. By being strong
In loving those who may be wrong,
Forgive them Father, for they don’t
Know what they do. And also – please
Forgive me also, for I don’t
Know how to love. Here, take my guns
And give me many different roses,
And give me heart enough to give
Them all away, while there’s still day.
That in the end I may just say:
“I loved. I have not lived in vain”.
May 5, 2017