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Truth was borne,

in chaos agonized.

Its cries assaulted

the unsupervised.

The birth was attended

by well-wishing Fiends

who tried to succor it

by various means.

The First bore a breast

from its gapping chemise

toward the suffering child,

it sought to appease.

From its snarling mouthpiece

It issued a shriek:

“Call to it, precious,

and then you will drink.”

To the false Maternal

did Truth wish well

and puckered its puss

like a vanishing belle.

A Second, disgruntled,

said, “Prove to Me this—

by what Name have you

to offer a kiss!

“Jump from a tower

and fall out not broken

so I, too, can utter

the Name you have spoken.”

The baby just gurgled

and giggled and cooed,

its sweetness confounding

th’ encircling brood.

A third One stepped up

in the crowd’s parting wake

to ensure that the birth

had not been a mistake.

With a bureaucrat’s ardor

and a connoisseur’s eye

the Third would account for

the birth of a Lie.

A hush overfell

as a Tempest retreats,

interrupted only

by th’ blighted lamb’s bleats.

“Hush, hush, sweet baby,

you re not alone.

Make your way boldly

In this, your new home.

Not in solitude

will your agonies sound.

but they’ll issue from fountains,

and water the ground,

And drain into rivers

that run into seas,

where great Courts will gather

to wash in your pleas.

Hush, hush, sweet baby,

and favor me this,”

then the Third set its check

for the Infant to kiss.

But the baby’s eyes blasted

out forth like a Sun,

round circling, its mouth,

a subservient moon.

Its body slid under

the clamoring Feet,

And its soul issued round

like a swaddling sheet.

The Miserable made due

in the closeness of space,

but the sweet Babe before them

had Chaos displaced.

Then round an altar

did proud Angels appear,

which made the cruel Torments

push up in the rear.

Once again One stepped up

from the heavenly wake

to ensure that the birth

had not been a mistake

“Hush, hush, sweet baby,

and suffer me this:”

And again bent its cheek

for the infant to kiss.

The babe turned about

for a sign from above,

or the sound of the fluttering

wings of a dove.

But the stillness among

Greater throngs was immense

‘til Truth hammered out

its final sentence:

“List me not among

your secret addresses,

counting your pennies

against my successes.

Get thee behind me

and I’ll seize my need

past the late hour when

the last of your breed

until the cool hour

of lengthening night,

I persist to draw slumber

In Heavenly sight.”



John Merchant

JOHN MERCHANT is a contributing writer for the Rail.


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