Author's Note: I wrote this poem addressed to the Christian Churches in the late 1990s. The quotes that follow provide a somewhat lengthy prologue that sets a conceptual frame for the message.
"That's what I want to talk with you about tonight. I call it the 'new covenant,' but it's grounded in a very old idea… Our 'new covenant' is a new set of understanding (sic) for how we can equip our people to meet the challenges of the new economy, how we can change the way our government works to fit a different time… "
Bill Clinton President of the United States State of the Union Address January 24, 1995
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.”
Jesus said, “Damn the Pharisees, for they are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger, for it does not eat or [let] the cattle eat.”
Gospel of Thomas: 102
The Dog in the Manger is a fable attributed to Aesop, concerning a dog who one afternoon lay down to sleep in the manger. On being awoken, he ferociously kept the cattle in the farm from eating the hay on which he chose to sleep, even though he was unable to eat it himself, leading an ox to mutter the moral of the fable:
People often begrudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves.
Millennia to Come
The Bride slumbers politely,
Bridegroom reveries encouraged by a steady stream of suitors
from the Emperor's legions.
Two centuries side-stepping her drowsy tail,
and the Free-Enterprise Emperor himself
sees a burning cross in the sky.
Deja-vu proclamations of “New Covenant”
in that battle-fatigue voice;
coming to the rescue of an uninspired cock fight
unworthy of lively betting.
History's syndicated cliffhanger
takes an encore — center stage.
Why not let sleeping Pharisees lie?
Still dreaming on the manger,
wisdom treasures under the straw,
like lamps full of oil,
inventoried, stacked, labeled;
waiting until after her nap
to see if the Bridegroom will come;
(long-since waylaid, cataloged, and shelved
in Post-Enlightenment fragments).
Does the Emperor like frankincense?
(Do we have a part number?)
Don't offer him the gold right away, Mom;
We haven't seen it yet, ourselves.
No Gnostic bones to bury, no promises to keep;
14,000 dog-years of persecution and inquisition
have slowed her beyond capacity to hurt or be hurt.
She might think we want to put her to sleep,
as though she hasn't already done that job for us.
We resist temptation to wake her
for just one glorious feast day of faith,
pastoral care, healing, and non-duality
before Empire and Bride finalize the merger —
spanking us all on the nose with front-page job losses —
broadcasting at a frequency inaudible to most humans.
Even now, our sensor sweeps detect
the same old barking bastards on the horizon.
Issues of Matricide aside
(another bony, redundant projection
from an indeterminate end of the leash),
picture the next “Enlightenment.”
Retrieving exhumed binary data,
browsing our lightweight legacy.
Much as we love these bags of skin and bone
(as God so loved them),
don't look for us in the year 3999.
God willing, four millennia of vigil outside the stable will be sufficient.
Time to come inside, change the guard,
or find the myrrth in it all.
We never abandon our post.