Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Gods Must Be Thirsty

In a Naples grotto narrow,
Is the shrine of Saint Genarro
Where a flask well sealed with lead
Contains a powder rusty red.
When shaken by the proper priest
A foaming fluid is released
And, fresh as from the living marrow
Flows the blood of Saint Genarro

Apt iconoclasts declare
The miracle is far from rare:
A gel made from hydrated rust
Will duplicate the trick in just
The way the priest performs.
Alas, though this gives rise to storms
Of rage and disappointment
Naples has not lost anointment

In chapel niches ‘round the globe
Stands Mary, dressed in royal robe:
The Queen of Heaven, carved in rock,
She doesn’t move, nor breathe, nor talk,
But those who faithful vigil keep
Have sworn they’ve seen some statues weep.
When human lives are cheaply priced,
Fresh flow the tears of the Mother of Christ.

When the Madonna’s tears are caught
And analyzed, there’s often not
A hint of water or of salt
But this discovery does not halt
The veneration of the stone
Virgin standing there alone
Her marble cheeks, it now appears,
Wet with manufactured tears

From Montreal to Uttar Pradesh
Are statues of the god, Ganesh:
Protector of the Hindu home
Enricher of the Hindu loam.
Whom would the elephant god adore
Milk on his stony feet may pour
But see! Through some arcane device
Ganesh now drinks his sacrifice!

It’s sadly true that money haunts
The halls of God, and in response
To Ganesh drinking up his milk
Profits soared for merchant ilk
The merchants claimed, with shameless fraud
That milk is now fit for a god.
While children starve with stomachs shrunk
Ganesh has milk shoved up his trunk.

What lack of faith or hope or vision
Would drive someone to a decision
That God would want his folk misled
By simple sleight-of-hand, instead
Of truth, and joy and wonder?
So demagogues from pulpits thunder
And Saint Genarro’s blood flows fresh
As milk poured out before Ganesh.

Christ, whom many folk revere
Made Yahweh’s policy quite clear
When asked to give a demonstration
Said:”A wicked generation
Asks to see a wondrous sign
To prove the Son of Man divine.”
Yahweh to Himself suffices:
He needs none of our devices.

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