I wrote this poem about God in May 1996, ten months after I had given birth to a son who was conceived through rape. It was a tough time for me, because I hadn’t disclosed to anyone, apart from family, how I became pregnant. My church judged me and refused to dedicate (alternative to Christening) my son without a father present. It hurt.
Paintings by Vietnamese Artist
Nguyen Thanh Binh
By Lucy (1996)
Musty smells of empty phrases
Kaleidoscope pieces of dusty doctrine
Worn wooden pews of tradition
Blank smiles and hard judging faces.
Sweet words with bitter undertones.
Wrinkled years of youth, passed away.
No thought after Sunday, no questions.
God exists in the mirror image of a Dog Collar.
Belief, handed out with the hymn books.
Faith is something impersonal and ridged.
It is safe, comfortable and very still.
A child dares to cry uncontrolled,
the atmosphere becomes tense, people smirk, someone tuts.
I shrink under the shame of being a bad mother.
The child laughs and for one moment reality sneaks in.
God laughs, God smiles and God whispers
“Let the little Children come to me”
Who can change the mind of a determined child?
So innocent, so alive and so trusting.
Waves of problems arise and tears fall.
Sweet sentiments and dusty doctrine are dashed.
Questions float on the surface of my mind,
but they are weighted down with shame, guilt and disapproval.
Sunday fades into the distance, a long hot week lies ahead.
Trapped in the unreality of spiritual bliss and pious words.
Life is gradually drained away.
Harsh reality hits hard in the stomach,
Yet you must cope, you will keep a smile on the porcelain exterior.
Inside I quiver like a frightened child.
I search for comfort, but there is none,
Just disapproval at jangled nerves.
In that dark winter of despair, the God of springtime smiles.
He reaches down and touches me and holds out His hand
Reality is God, not pious words or ornate buildings.
A man, a carpenter, a son, a woman’s first borne child.
A simple man, who loved, lost, bled and cried.
I reach out a childlike hand to Him and trust with childlike reality.
I hear His words “live, love and trust
There will always be failure, you might be rejected,
That can’t be eradicated,
Yet God, thank God is always there.”
Not assuming, not judging, just waiting
Just Loving, Sympathetic, Empathetic.