By Teddy Hempstead
Who was that man praying for rain?
The ecclesiastical howling makes me howl.
Big rock good, small rock bad.
The beginning of the beginning of a whimsical smiting.
(Smite: to smote: to destroy, divinely, to be a god, to act.)
I am troubled by the largeness of the internet;
a very big thing, the best parts of which get printed;
a very large thing, the worst bits of which consisted
of very horrible unartistic content acquitted
of any merit, of any joy, of any desire or insistence.
Oh! What a huge thing, the bits of which existed
to come together and find me huddled and horrible and small and addicted.
Howl! Moloch has been linked up by train tracks
to the everything else, to the beginning of the beginning of..
Who was that man praying for rain? The big priest
thrown out of the church for brawling.
Or was it bawling? The papers were smudged
by the fat of fish and chip and chip and chip and chip etc.
Oil is also used in communion.
Oil is also used in bottles of oil.
Howling is also used in communion.
Howl is not an anagram of oil.
More folk wisdom, no good to anybody. Go to church.
“May the Lord give us
the world cannot.” God!
I believe in a god for certain, surely he’s here
in the window panes and the midwinter rains
in the incompressible urban plains
and the rural plains
and every common plain old Jane
and most of all in the candles, which are plain.
What good is a disposable peace
that lives only in the church
on a Wednesday
in the heart of vicar reading unrehearsed scripture.
I do sometimes forget that vicars have rehearsed forever.
I do sometimes forget that they (vicars) are clever wherever.
Tell me again what’s in a Wednesday.
I love you divine ceiling, curtain, floor
songstress plus reclining bore
and the hardcore antiwar carnivore dinosaur
who reads hymns to me, directly, forevermore.
I am beginning to feel quite godly, Daniel.
The sky is very big but I
have a yet unproven suspicion the sea is bigger.
Populists dispute it and call me mad
but I can afford a tower, and I will, and I will find proofs.
The sky is extremely blue regularly, even in winter,
even when I’m miserable about every damn silly bugger out there,
but the sea is
in a way much more inarticulate than the godly sky.
Do you think god might live in the sea?
I’m worried that he’s in there; I really believe it.
I’ve swum in there.
I think it’s a very plausible hypothesis
(even moreso since I dived down and saw him).
He was disguised! yes. What as?
A cuttlefish, drifting on the waves, spewing ink and bulbous blue.
But I recognised that the cuttlefish was god
and swam after it until I burned
and surfaced and felt the salt burn the burn
and looked around from the middle of the sea
and saw the beach, far away, very lonely
(my father somewhere there asleep)
and the sea and the sky were on fire
with identical energies
orange yellow blue gold green silver fire!
Purple white luminescent holy fire!
The people on the beach were ants! Oh!
Don’t make me go home!
Drown me! I want to drown in the fire!
I want the cuttlefish to take me out to sea
and love me and leave me
and let the salt wash over me
and look up at the flames saying ‘Come on
he’s not so far down you know’.
I swam back towards the beach.
I am a Jew but my amen was loud
as my feet hit sand again, and I returned to time.
I didn’t age out there;
it was less than an hour, but I stole it
from the cuttlefish
who gave it willingly and with monstrous love.