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C.N.P Poetry 

The End of Faith; God is correction, feedback and bifurcation

By: Robert Ronnow

The End of Faith

                       –ending with lines by James Taylor and Kenneth Rexroth

Two thoughts come to mind this morning.

The deficiencies in our systems of governance–local, global–

and the first two pages of The End of Faith

in which he mistakes acts of war for religious acts

but recognizes understanding the workings of the world

is not the same as knowing the unknowable.

Every new twinge provokes fear

but what is there to fear? That one won’t live forever?

The year of a man is the day of an inchworm

and 267 years on a reverse-rotating Venus.

A billion of anything is a lot

unless it’s the distance one must traverse to look at God.

How much silence, or tinnitus, can you handle?

A chipmunk cannot for long stand still.

Once the twinge passes I’m off to the next task:

building a constituency for this compassion, that solution.

The dialogue starts with a question. To know the question

is almost certainly to find an answer.

Conflating questions is the commonest of logic errors.

No negotiation unless the violence ends.

Why not talk while we fight?

We can always kill, torture or assassinate between conversations.

Justice, or retribution if you want,

can remain on the table even after we achieve understanding.

Nature is my religion, I know no other,

and community is my church. The sacrament

is policy debate. I attend church everyday. 

Our jobs are hymns (the classifieds a hymnal)

and payment for services rendered is sung praise and gratitude.

Walking and talking is prayer.

Strategies to limit or subvert discussion are the only evil.

Violence is one

but not by far the only one.

What’s the hurry to build a highway or free a people?

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time

and time is the mercy of eternity.

God is correction, feedback and bifurcation

Vivacious, practical, self-directed

Mary Bailey, nice body

it makes no sense that just because George

might never have been she suddenly becomes a shy,

homely, lonely librarian without a dog or god.

No, it did not fundamentally matter

whether George was born except to his mother. Potter

might have taken over but why should the morality

of a whole community decline? As for the ship

going down, if a butterfly in China had fluttered

right instead of left 10,000 years ago

the tragedy would have been entirely averted

in fact the whole war would not have happened!

I pleasure in and treasure

my insignificance. If only

I could be overlooked

by the planning board and IRS.

One false note gives the lie

to the whole premise. God died

but was elected posthumously to the Senate

as for the Big Bang theory, when it

supposedly happened what surrounded that

golf ball of matter and now what

occupies the time beyond the furthest edge of space?

My wife over dinner laughs, says Face

it, you’ll never know so stop asking questions.

That is how we must make music, mindful of our extreme

limits, our politics, our complete dependence on the theme

of God as feedback, bifurcation and correction.


Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site


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