Let’s call it a sacrifice

A new poem. Photograph by me.

Let’s call it a sacrifice

It must have worked, whatever killed it
: the drought has lost
its footing; except now, the once
named, being dead, is just that
—or a sacrifice, sufficient enough
to sate the appetite of a god.
i don’t believe in such fads,

but many do & whoever
they are, they’d speak carefully, something
or other, to this inert object,
throat like a purse turned inside out,
chest bloated with a final
breath, eyes fixed
in a manner, watchful.

Sitting down beside it,
touching its soft hair, they’d say
let there be more lives given,
that the gods are minded to stop
the weather spoiling our labours
,
without petty anger, nor
distraction in their voice.

i put the back of my hand under
its nose & felt a weak draft
— whatever is happening,
it feels like an extension
of taking part in life.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. What a totally and completely fantastic poem. You know JUST what to say! 508 stars out of 5!!!!

    1. & i don’t even have to give anything to an imaginary being, but i do find the idea of belief fascinating & in a way, so long as it never gets too out of hand, i am glad it is a part of humanity. Don’t you think?

      1. I am not glad (at all) that it is part of humanity, but have no plans to forcibly rid the world of mythology! 🙂

      2. i dunno. i used to think similarly, but when i see a Syrian father who lost every member of his family & the only thing left is his belief he will see them again in the next life, despite religion being the catalyst for all his problems, not realizing this, his last refuge is his faith. i can’t take that away.

      3. But this then becomes a question of hope, not belief. And I 100% agree. False hope, in this circumstance, is better than no hope at all. All I wish for is a world that does not ignore what is true due to value what is untrue… ergo my love of the corrective measures in (true) science.

      4. i don’t think for some devoutly religious it is hope or belief, it is a truth that will come to pass. i don’t know how complete devotion feels, i don’t have it, but sometimes i envy it. i gave up on hoping, the only hope i can find these days is in acceptance of anything that doesn’t directly instigate extremes, so a belief in a hope that seems improbable i can live with. Not putting sprinklers in a tower block, which then burns to the ground killing 100+ & then leaving 100s more homeless, i cannot forgive, i must say something. But the rest i can accept or enjoy. My aesthetic sensibility toward Korea is a good example of me putting this into action: originally i thought Korea too untidy for my aesthetic sense, but now, i sort of like it, i do like it in fact; i admire its practicality & the effects it has on people’s habits & their use of public space.

      5. Grenfell Tower just represents the usual pattern: measuring the number of “acceptable” human lives lost before a government or organizing body knows it must change, the modern day equivalent of ancient human sacrifice. The ancient variant was to appease various gods, the modern version is a measurement of bureaucratic responsibility: thus, it is most evil in its “acceptability”: those who could have prevented this tragedy ignored the concerns and warnings of the residents as the ancient priest ignored the cries of those sacrificed until they could ill afford the act (losing their status as intercessor of divine communications and will). Thus it is with us to this day as a behavioral issue: one that is within the capability of the atheist as much as the believer. Thus, though I hate organized religion, it actually is greed, hate, intolerance, and such that we are fighting.

        Grenfell Tower just taught us that a few hundred immigrants is the limit to how many people can be “allowed” to be killed in the UK with or without penalty: the usual price and the usual group. This is the human part.

        As for god, well, one group of humans did this to another so I hardly think god can/should be blamed for what we do to each other.

      6. This is a perfect response. The similarity you draw is bang on. One thing at least from Grenfell is that gauge by which we can measure societies tolerance to something.

      7. Grenfell Tower is indeed unforgivable, exactly as you said. But our responses/solution must come from reason, not emotion. Justice driven by fact ensures that we can come to a just punishment for those responsible for treating Grenfell’s residents like a justifiable risk for the sake of gentrification. The Grenfell Massacre is what they should call it: Sudanese, Eritrean, and Syrian bodies thrown to Molok The Middle Class.

        And now there are some North Kensington residents COMPLAINING that their council tax bills will rise if they rehouse the survivors in their own buildings.

        Molok is still slightly hungry…

      8. Always will be in a fractured country of cows who only have one stomach.

      9. But maybe this is why I like you so much. You and I (if I am reading your personality correctly) share the same type of benevolent “hopelessness” that neither impedes the world’s progress nor adds to its downfall. I like to think of myself as a “philanthropic misanthrope” who will one day leave this world have not been spiritually poisoned or have spiritually poisoned anyone else.

        And your writing/photos have made the journey a LOT better! 🙂

      10. i’d concur with that. i believe in questioning as best i can, where i can, in what i know; If i don’t know about something i keep shtumm & listen. The world is complicated & taking positions, defending them & using them to attack others, is not a useful or helpful way to proceed, in my opinion. For example, my aunty believes all Muslims should leave England. She is a xenophobe & posts some terrible things. But rather than just get angry i am trying to learn how she thinks these things, that make her say such vile things & then i can try to talk past the brick wall ideology that is her nationalism. i can’t do this to everyone, but i can perhaps change something in the locality of this part of my life. i won’t be angry toward her, i don’t need passion to show she is wrong. At a certain of trying i will see it as hopeless, but i’ll know instinctively when that time comes. Till then i’ll learn why & counter this when i think it is right & may work, strategically.

      11. An excellent strategy. Speaking of excellent strategies, I have added your advice to my current post on Writer’s Block. Scroll down to my (new) Point Number 4 to see it. 🙂

      12. Glad to be involved. Right, i have work to do, rooms to clean. Always a pleasure talking with you Daniel.

      13. I am always ‘richer” for having read your work and comments… (gassho rei)!

  2. kvennarad says:

    When I read someone else’s poetry it is often difficult not to think “I wouldn’t have written it like that.” How the hell is that relevant? What does it matter that, when I write in lyric mode, I studiously avoid similes? This is your poem, not mine, and the simple piece of description “…throat like a purse turned inside out…” is vivid. End of. I’ve now read the poem over seven times, and I consider it to be world class.

    1. Love it when a reader takes my bait. i never used simile till i read Michael Symmons Roberts’ Dry psalter, then i realized the potential for a directness to people’s sense with such line, they catch on. Absolutely chuffed with your comment, cheers.

      1. kvennarad says:

        I call it like I see it, Squire.

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