A Poem on the Death of God

PROCESSIONAL

(After Thomas Hardy’s “God’s Funeral”)

I.

At twilight, a people-train

prepared to move.

Dead God carried at

the front; mourning

contagious. I am my own

sadness at the death of God.

II.

I saw Him. He first appeared

a man. Then a cloud,

an eagle. I came under

Him, the spell of His power,

the mystery, the authority.

III.

The crowd began to move.

I joined the procession. One to

the dead One spoke: “How can

we survive You, and why were

we so rash to make You?”

Another recited the calamity:

“First, He was like our fathers,

jealous and fearsome.

Then we made Him just, a friend

of the cursed, patient and merciful.

This didn’t seem right,

but we couldn’t let it go.

We became apologists, deceived.

Our punishment is exile.

We are in Babylon

with no Zion to go home to.”

IV.

Of course, I thought, there’s

always nostalgia. I looked back

at the fundamentalists, noisy

in the rear, still in denial. I knew

them, felt their pain. I believed once.

V.

At the horizon was a feint, uncertain

light. A few pointed. “See? There’s

something!” Those who saw it

most clearly were the best among us.

I doubted, almost protested,

but followed the crowd.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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