Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This Bargaining God Who Isn't Worried About His Dignity, or: Theme Songs, November 2015


Carl Dennis

Not the omnipotent one, who works alone,
But the one who finds the job of keeping the world
Running peaceably too much for him
And is grateful for help from the other gods
And doesn't mind if they get all the credit.

The one uneasy when any prayers of thanks
Are wafted his way, any smoke of sacrifice.
Let farmers show their gratitude for the rain
By thanking the god of rain directly.
Let a district delivered from a plague of locusts
Sing hymns to the god of early frosts.

As for the prayers of those who seek protection
From acts of injustice, each is a thorn
In the flesh of the god in question,
Who knows how little relief he can bring.

Little relief for the prisoner
Unwilling to join a gang, when he tries
To make it safely across the yard.
Little relief for the seamstress on the factory floor
Who resembles too closely the wife of the foreman,
Who ran off last week with a younger man.

Yes, this god has been known to soften
The hardest hearts when given the months
Or years the process requires. But what about
Having to act at once in emergencies?

No time to explain to the bully
The source of his need to cross the street
And mock the boy whose ears stick out.
No time to convince the boy his humiliation
Ought to make him more understanding one day,
More compassionate.

No wonder this favorite god is ready to deal
With any god who might offer a sudden
Evasive maneuver, this bargaining god
Who isn't worried about his dignity.

I can see him now, promising the god of geese
He'll do what he can to shorten the hunting season
Or protect more wetlands if a flock
Can sweep down Court Street in the next two minutes,
Skimming so low that in the surprise and confusion
A child in danger might slip away.

     - 2015