January 6th, 2008

Deus Est Deus Pauperum

Of course there's something I left out of the post I wrote yesterday- and that's the ideological underpinnings of my position. I suppose I was afraid of seeming pious.

Most people, it seems, can be exposed to the New Testament in childhood without it turning them into angry little socialists. I was different.

Here was God talking to me- in splendid, pompous, Jacobean English-  and what He was saying was, I don't care for those rich people. If You want to get to heaven you've got to choose between us: Me or them- which is it going to be?

Alright,  I'm not really a Christian anymore- but I've never been able to shake myself out of that world view. Actually, I haven't wanted to. It's stark, it's magnificent, it appeals to my imagination. Also, it happens to be true.  There's a war going on between those who embrace money and power and those who reject them for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

On the one side Milton, Bunyan, William Morris- all those righteous dudes. On the other- well- no-one I'd want to be seen hanging around with. 

Peter Mandelson, perhaps.

Simplistic? Yes, of course. And it all got a bit preachy a couple of paragraphs back. I used to be a preacher and that's something I slip back into very easily. 

So- sorry if raised my voice. That was a lapse. I'm not trying to win souls *coughs politely into sleeve*. I'm just trying to tell you who I am.

Poem Arising



                                    CIVIL WAR

 

                                    When I was painting my English Civil War

                                    Miniatures I was changing sides

                                    On an hourly basis.

 

                                                                  New Model Army-

                                    That's a name to roll off the tongue.

                                    I liked the lobster-tail helmets they wore

                                    And their politics.

 

                                                                 But theology

                                    Removed me into the Royalist camp.

                                    I liked a smoky liturgy

                                    And a maypole dance.

 

                                                                        All civil wars

                                    Are shite- the neighbours shot in the back field,

                                    Buried beside their blighted crops-

                                    And they always last such a very long time,

                                    The troops regrouping, the arguments

                                    Mutating.

                                                  

                                                    A republican

                                    And a pagan- that is what I am

                                    And I've never known where to stand when Charles

                                    Steps into the rough-tongued January morning.