In a dream the angel said to me: “Lift up
O Man, prophetic voice to ask the world
‘Are you happy?’ Noting with compassion
The desperate dullness, unspoken in their eyes
Behind vehement affirmation.”
Why so shrill,
The gray voices of the elderly choir ladies,
Cracked, wavering, unmatched?
“You hear matter
Only, which has been only partially ruled
Since its Lord and Lady long ago
Abdicated their authority in rebellion
Surrendering to a spirit the world of things.
Atoms have not obeyed so well since then,
Atoms and the movements in between
In ear and air and throat.”
Alas, I said,
Unruly matter! Such a clumsy tool
For so sublime a task.
Matter is innocent, docile to its law,
Perfect as ever it was. It is the spirit,
Unruly and therefore most unfit to rule,
Which bears the blame for this. The blame for all
Disharmony which plagues the life of man:
Unworship of molecular machines in cancerous cells, and
Of worms inside intestines, drinking blood, and
The preying of man upon his fellow man, and
The withering fear of being preyed upon, which
Shrinks the soul, bitters the tongue, pinches pennies.
The ownership of the poor by the middle class, who
Flatter themselves that they are not the rich, so
Not to blame.”
Complicit up to my eyeballs
I stood ashamed.
“Prophesy, O man,
And ask the world, ‘Are you happy?’ For all these crimes
Those curly heads and balding heads and gray
Trembling hands, enforce imperfect obedience
From dry larynx, arthritic knees, kyphotic spines,
Offering the very best of all their so,
So imperfect work. This we call “the Liturgy.”