Print

Print


It is one thing, but not one thing alone,
to say "I am a Christian", believing it;
and another to know precisely what it means.
A man who is thought wise beyond his years,
a numerate analyst, queries the counting;
suggests the deity must grow three heads.
"Three wives? No wives?! How dull. His son's mother -
she died?" No. Yes. "She stayed a virgin?
This three part male - he cannot get it up?"
An armed princeling demands "You eat your God?
I think perhaps the mistress might be ours.
She to whom we do homage. Powerful
she is. Very powerful." It is one thing
but not one thing entire to love a God
so jealous he denies all others life,
condemning them as devil. So one's taught.
Not that I've ever heard him speak aloud;
and there are bits dropped out or covered up
in my credo. I believe in my fear
and in my desire; and in my yearning wish
to be protected from malice, vengeance
and capriciousness. I would rather not have
any of the heard truths, staying ignorant,
keeping each interested entity appeased,
knowing I would have been most happy gardening
where all one does improves without decay.
Even the dismal fields beneath the soil -
Why else do worms resist the pecking birds? -
would best the stale torment of contradiction.
Let God have his churches, conquests and many words.
I would be friends with all, but I am followed
everywhere by fire which becomes bread and spirit --
which twists into descending blaze. Dear God,
let me worship that which threatens. Have faith.
I cannot separate belief from real danger.
I do not think I have ever fallen
except when sick or drunk. Let me survive.
Please give your welcome; but do not save me
and I'll attest whatever you demand;
but leave me space and time for other strengths
and for somewhere alone with my world empty.


[Elidius is one of the names of one who may have lived at some time
after the Roman period on Scilly, or, as it then seems to have been
called, Ennor. There is no evidence of him apart from the earlier name
of St Helen's island, where it is said he may have been buried, Insula
Sancti Elidii. His feast day is 8th August. Until now he has had no
hagiographer. ]