The faithful depart

You have given us like sheep for eating
And scattered us among the heathen.
Psalm 44

Out here, no stars for guidance
No hope for subsistence
The sky meets the open sea
Searching for a horizon

Out here, the wail of utter
Lack of direction
Of pointlessness
Seems absurdly redundant

Whatever happened
To the long ago gamble
That pushed us here
So vainly game?

The compass needle swings
Madly from one point
To the next, oblivious,
Wanton, unable, unwilling

And yet, we’re such dogs
As lap up the small gifts
We find on the wayside
Imagining meanings for them all

Our lips cannot form
The word “sever”
Our hearts cannot forgive
The love you bore us

Our souls cannot grasp
Your cruel mercy

This poem was inspired by a passage from Gildas’ De Excidio et Conquestu Britannie, written in 540 CE. It describes the slaughter and deprivation of Britons at the hands of Saxons after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.  Ironically, the earlier barbarians had become Roman Britons, and now viewed the Saxon invaders with the same revulsion they had suffered at the hands of the Romans.

3 thoughts on “The faithful depart

  1. Emotions as intense and relevant today. Reading Glidas’ passage, I feel as though you’ve somehow pulled the strands of poetry (a delicate maneuver) from an ancient prose to create a fresh garment we can all wear.

      • I’m happy to know that. I was thinking, as I wrote the comment that the Renaissance never really ended, nor did poets / artists / writers ever stop influencing each other. We just became really unaware for a few centuries, while wrestling with the thing called Reason. 😉

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