Sunday, October 24, 2010

When the Devil Whispers

It's no accident that theatrical tragedies have been so popular for millenia, that clowns wear a frown or success often rises from the ashes of defeat. Is the twisted life of a comic genius the source of his acerbic wit?

Through a combination of fault and fate I've walked a rocky path this last year or so and though I've had to face up to harsh realities there have been times when I've wondered if I've been over analytical. The truth is: this has probably been the most incisive and creative time of my life though I would swap it in an instant. It's only through pain you can identify the hurt which I might have missed had I been more stoic. I asked myself if it was wise to seek enlightenment whenever thoughts troubled me and though I concede that bread is more useful than wisdom, on this occasion I thought it worth the detour.

And so I thought maybe I heard the devil whisper and was there any benefit in listening. If you read into this the morality of truth or a theology of evil you have completely missed the point.

When the Devil Whispers

When the devil whispers
I strain to hear
Though I'm told
He is the master of deceit
And father of lies
He is no fool

As old as the hills
And counsellor of kings
He is neither jester
Nor civil servant
Even Jesus did not dismiss him

Only when it is obscured
Is the window honest
No man is true
Nor demon false
A clean window
Is perfectly hidden

So I will doubt men of God
When they claim to see
And myself
When I think I understand
Or know what's true

Like marks on the window
Tell me when it has rained
So my troubled mind
Echoes his whispers
And through his stained glass lies
I see the truth

© Chris Price 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hopes Deferred

A Poem

With willing flesh
And heart replete
A thousand miles these feet would walk
In searing heat

These heavy eyes
Would gladly gaze
Upon the sun's relentless
incandescent rays

But heroes faint
For lack of hope
When lesser mortals less prepared
Would somehow cope

The flesh finds strength
From scraps and spills
And breaks out of its boundaries
When the spirit wills

But flesh's
anaerobic burst
Will face the hearts inertia
When it fears the worst

The spirit hides
Behind the skirts
Of fixed primordial paradigms
And ancient hurts

The heart made strong
With longings stirred
grows weak with dreams betrayed
And hopes deferred

© Chris Price 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Read Any Good Books Lately?

A Final Eulogy

It's been nearly four months since my mum died and this weekend the family got together to scatter her ashes. I was thinking about what would be appropriate to say on this occasion that was not so applicable at her funeral. I gave the eulogy at her funeral and in deciding what to say I went through a few ideas including the concept of the circle of life. While living appears to be linear if you join the two ends you have a continuous line with no true beginning or end. However as this is conceptual rather than illustrative it doesn't really lend itself to a eulogy. Pondering on this about an hour before scattering the ashes the illustration of a library came into my mind (though I can't quite remember how it came about) and as I thought about it the idea of borrowing a book worked quite well and the following is, in essence, what I said.

When an author writes a book it first takes shape as a manuscript which goes to a publisher and eventually is printed in several copies, some of which find their way onto a library shelf. These books are merely clones of the original manuscript and being created or destroyed do not affect the existence of the story itself. The original is like a blueprint which defines the copy and even if the copy is burned the blueprint remains. The Bible says that from the dust we come and to dust we will return which is like a library book that we can only keep for a while. Once we have read it must be returned to the shelf in the library where it came from.

We said our farewells nearly four months ago - we waved goodbye as she took her final journey. Today we honoured her memory as her ashes fell on the same ground that received those of my dad 11 years ago. We also acknowledged our mortality and gratefulness as we honoured the stamp of the great librarian and returned what was never ours to own or keep.