Friday, June 24, 2016

But the Cesspool....

Chairman Mao:
"All political power comes from the barrel of a gun."

When you are cast down by negative circumstances, even despair,
"Swing Low"*
to this true story...

The brown filth mucked up
To his shins, over a foot deep,

And buried his calloused and ulcered feet,
As he shoveled the human feces
Out of the reeking prison tank

For 60,000 lost souls where
He had been lowered by smirking guards.

But the cesspool mattered reek of all this?

At least the yellowed pus seeping
From his ankle was hidden
In the dung

But the dark brown stench
Caused an acrid backwash in his mouth.

His hands sweat with offal grime as
He slopped the feces out of his pitted world,

Punished with Red-Guarded re-education
By this fecal matter, revolting

To the norm of all learning from
Mao’s Red Book and Mao's black-teethed mouthings,

Tattooed beyond mental recovery in
The comrades’ dialectical brains.

But the cesspool mattered reek of all this?

Where the obscenities refuse to die
Where so many humans suffocate, confined

To suffering in the waste of others’ feculent ways.
This learned Chinese man, coerced

To live within the dung gate and clean
Sludge of human manure,

Created this fetid sewer into his reverent garden;
The septic tank became a place
of praise,

Ceaseless worship with every slimed shovel,
One hell-gated spiritual oasis.

Yes, the cesspool mattered reek of all this.

His fielded visions, not the Mandarin facts,
Nor the clich├ęs of Western affluence,

But of the order of Elie Wiesel’s prayer
In the effluent night of Bergen-Belsen

Where the excrement of cultural dominance
Floods to its all-time low—ever present–

Where the obscenities refuse to die
And cadaverous worms eat tissued body parts.

To give timeless eternal thanks
Despite the ordures of such polluted nights,

To live in hope while shoveling feces
Or your neighbors’ poisoned ashes

Surrounded and feet deep
In the filth;

Yes, the cesspool mattered reek of all this.

The answer that seems so reeking
Pollyannaish if it weren’t Existential–

A lighted match of faith in that bottomless pit
Of long history’s shit of evil acts,

The complete excrement of mystery;
Then the man ‘crosses’ the tank,

Finally wholly empty,
To be lifted up by a psalm

Of compost and fertilizer
Winging up in the Spirit of Ultimate Truth.

Swing low...

Sweet savored pool of fragrant myrrh
And frankincense.

-Daniel Wilcox

"Swing low..." Negro spiritual

*Factual background from a news article
by Dan Wooding, British journalist,
and Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang
and Jon Haliday

First published in
different form in
Liturgical Credo,
then in the poetry
collection, selah river

In the Light which defies the "Ocean of Darkness,"*

Daniel Wilcox

*George Fox

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