Genvieve’s Questions

So very many questions

From the years of pain and grief.

But the ‘answers’ do not satisfy

And do not bring relief. Came, hoping for some insight

Where there weren’t none to be found.

Puzzled by a less-than-certain faith-style –

Yet where hope and love abound.

We, who do not have your answers

And cannot explain your loss,

Still are focused upon Jesus

And the mystery of his cross.

For his magnetism draws us

Down the labyrinthine years,

His Spirit captivates our hearts

And his love dissolves our fears.

We still hear his invitation

To his Kingdom of the free.

We can let go the complications

Hearing simply ‘Follow me’.

[ Prompted by a dialogue in cyber-space 2002]

Dialogue Between Scepticism & Traditional Orthodoxy

FREEDOM:  by K.F. age 16

I don’t want a role, Director

Or a make-up mask.

I don’t like your script, Play-writer,

So don’t say I’m type-cast!

But, Mr God, I want to fly –

To try to see from your eye,

(Up there in the sky ),

Your cage of a stage.

But there, I won’t be free

To be or to see –

For heavy my wings shall grow,

Earth-bound,

Full of my own sorrow.

14th September 1987    Brighton

A  RESPONSE:

My  ways are ways of pleasantness

And all my paths are peace.

From here, you see there is no cage

But a state of true release.

Pure air does not confine

Those who wish to breathe.

Nor does the Beloved struggle

To be free from her lover’s arms.

Will you teach your child the Highway Code

And not to play with fire ?

Those ‘cage bars’ are but signposts

To warn of perils, dire.

The actors in my play,

To improvise, are free.

I’ve left it open-ended

So that people such as you

May choose to try it your way,

To ‘make it’ without me.

I’d tell you, if you’d listen,

But you don’t have time to hear

A Father’s tender admonition

Or feel my presence, ever near.

But you were made for fresh, pure air

And poisoned fumes will harm.

So, were you made for Love Unknown.

Outside, alone and ‘free’ you’ll roam,

Restless, earth-bound, indeed –

‘Til you start to seek the truth

And I can really set you free.’

18th September 1987    Brighton

 

 

 

 

Alienation

Between the world of knowledge

And the problems of the world,

Between the day of indifference

And the detachment of Enlightenment

is the shadowland.

From justification through Art

To a need for atonement for sin.

From the vision of despair

To the affirmation of life

Is not so far

As from inauthentic existence

To any alternative way.

Between the world of the beautiful people

And the ‘cult’ of clinical concern,

Between the powerless intents of pacifism

And the disillusion of diplomats,

Between grievance demanding revenge

And tolerance of fallibility

Is far enough

To keep us talking interminably

Of the alienation of man.

Between the words I vainly say

And their meaning to another,

Between my most significant gesture

And its interpretation,

Between the intensity of my cry of pain

And the futility of its impact

Lies the division of the world.

Resignation is not enough

And stoicism, an escape to another illusion.

To stretch across the brink

Has some meaning.

And death itself is vindicated

If it opens the way for others

To cross the divide.

October 23rd 1967   [ Just after arriving at Keele University]

 

 

Towards Freedom

Tell us not once, but often

That we need no further exposition,

Books or cults or emigration.

Tell us again that the shadow cast on the wall –

Is the other side of beauty.

That to touch it brings no danger –

There’s no need to fear the truth.

But we’re slow to claim our freedom.

The dependence on our bonds

Has been nurtured by our loved ones

And projected on our gods.

So, be patient with our questions –

With our need to chrystalise.

Don’t let us vegetate in symptoms,

We will never be content with lies.

For ever, as we dimly see

Our hearts and minds confess

That this is near the truth to which

We can at last, say ‘yes’.

July 1967

Today

Yes, it is true that we have dreams

And seek a happiness we have not yet seen.

Through the haze a bright star ever gleams

Leading us on towards some new and far off land.

But the far off land is barren and the star is long extinct

And all that we have is today.

It is not very much.

Did we ask so very much ?  Too much ?

We only asked that the whole thing should make sense

But now that doesn’t seem possible.

Let us then take today – lest we lose that as well.

And let us give it all we have.

Let us give ourselves to this day.

6th May 1964

 

It is hard for us to Understand

It is hard for us to understand

Why men were made this way,

That some great God has really planned a home for such as they.

For nature does not teach us,

The Bible cannot reach us,

Nor holy men convince us

That God will bring a cure.

It is hard for us to understand

That death is not the end –

That to some vast and ghostly land

Our spirits will ascend.

We cannot quite believe it

And even if we wished it

We still could not receive it

Until we were quite sure.

So we must try to live without

Knowledge of Truth and Right

‘Til death relieves us of our doubt

And steeps our souls in night.

Then if He’s there we’ll see him

(Though we may have to flee Him)

Because we could not see Him

On earth and were not sure.

1961

 

Disillusionment

We did not know that it would be like this

That it would be quite like this……

And Truth is not what we imagined it to be,

Nor is there any joy in being free.

We did not know, for no-one ever told us

(And not many could have told us),

Of the difficulties involved in our deviation

And the utter futility at our destination.

And now we’re tired and sad and disillusioned.

We have seen and there is nothing more to see.

And those who have not seen can never understand

And those who have are powerless to change the fateful hand.

And all around is beauty in the things we used to praise –

And everything is a memory of unforgotten days.

For we never will forget the way that it used to be –

We have found the truth but we are not really free.

We have spoken and there is no more to say –

I suppose it’s possible to live our lives some way.

We’ll never feel again that we belong

Or know if we are really ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

20th August ‘1963 after reading Colin Wilson’s ‘The Outsider’

It is Hard for us to Understand

It is hard for us to understand

Why men were made this way….

That some great god had really planned

A home for such as they.

For nature does not teach us,

The Bible cannot reach us,

Nor holy men convince us

That God will bring a cure.

It is hard for us to understand

That death is not the end….

That to some vast and ghostly land,

Our spirits will ascend.

We cannot quite believe it

And even if we wished it,

We still could not receive it

Until we were quite sure.

So we must try to live without

Knowledge of Truth and Right

‘Til death relieves us of our doubt

And steeps our souls in night.

Then if He’s there we’ll see Him

(Though we may have to flee Him)

Because we could not see Him

On earth and were not sure.

.

Youthful Vitality ……..

Youthful vitality ! I wouldst thou were to me

The breathing spirit of the heart and veins

Thou art to some. Instead, the heavy chains

Of thought from which I’ll ne’er be free

Crush like a weed my soul which cries for liberty.

These hours which should be filled with song and pleasure

Are robbed of innocence, of quiet leisure –

While in their stead I watch in misery

Day follow day, tears follow tears and never

Anyone to understand. It’s hard

To smile when the heart is crying.

But oh, if ever I find one to understand and

love me for a while,

The years and all my guilt shall fade away –

I shall be young again and free and gay.

November ’61  (c) IconoclasticNan

The Unbelievers

When we decide to be

Out of anxiety –

Now a forever free,

Pagan Society –

We ask no sympathy

From your complacency.

We have spent thoughtfully

Sleepless nights, tearfully –

Cried out in agony,

Brokenly, prayerfully.

Childlike simplicity

In the complexity

Of all philosophy

Creeds and theology –

We cannot see

You may be sure of right.

We have not any light

Shining in our dark night

No God redeems our plight

So all alone we fight

‘Gainst your dogmatic height –

Rejecting your rules, so trite

Until at last in sight

Freedom comes, gently, bright.

Yet still we’re not happy, quite

Midst your reproving blight.

We do not wish you spite –

You dressed in spotless white –

(Always so sure of right) –

We do not have your light –

Leave us in freedom’s night.

Then will we quietly

Wander in ecstasy,

Finding fresh poignancy

In life’s variety.

We will live joyfully

Children of gaiety

Finding in fantasy

All that we could not see

In man’s philosophy.

Childlike and humble, we

Live for discovery

Loving humanity

Now making history

We do not think we’ll be

Burned in eternity.

We alone are the free