Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Sunday, 5 April 2015


Children of God

Enrobed in Asexuality,
all the young gods,
floating in futility,
somewhere between here
and Heaven...
watching in wonderment
the works of the Word.

Passively sucking on the teat
of impending insurrection;
their thoughts:–
subterraneans in
dark, earthy caverns,
evolving from the primordial
to a higher form of sin.

Hollow things:– clayey
in concept and human
in appearance:– children
playing games without
considering their
consequences... but
then, "children" don't...

I was brought up inordinately interested in the notion of sin. I knew what the party line was but I’ve never really got it. What really bothered me was the fact that as I’d been born in sin—all Adam’s fault—sinning came quite naturally to me; it was much harder not to sin. But not impossible. That said no matter how much effort I put into not sinning—and, indeed, managing not to sin—I would still never not be a sinner. So what was the point? 

Like Adam and Eve the angels were all created perfect and sinless and so it was much easier for them not to sin; not sinning was their default setting. But that doesn’t mean they were incapable of sinning. And clearly many chose to, a “third of fallenthe stars of heaven” in Revelation is to be believed. They decided they liked the look of sex even though they were designed, at least according to Jesus, not to marry took on human form and frolicked with the daughters of men. They went against their nature.

This poem is me thinking about the transition from spirit creature to human form and trying to understand why curiosity was such a bad thing. And, of course, written by a young man who was intensely curious about everything to do with sex. I probably got the idea from Eliot’s ‘The Hollow Men’.

‘Children of God’ has never been published. Probably because there were two huge typos in it which I’ve fixed.


Gwil W said...

"frolicked with the daughters of men"

Jesus often referred to himself as "the son of man".

In my own mind I always come back to that description. I tend to think the spiritual and the physical are one and the same thing. Or more probably the one and the same no-thing. They are switching on the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) so maybe we will take a step beyond Higgs . . .

Kass said...

A lot going on in this poem. I like Gwil's response. I'm forming a poem in my mind which references the Higgs (God - or as the physicist, Leon Lederman originally wrote before his publishers talked him out of it: The Goddamn) Particle. It goes
something like this:

It's not just a theory
particles jiggle
people behind me
have verified this

Jim Murdoch said...

I struggle with the word ‘spiritual’, Gwilliam. Even when we’re talking about a spirit realm I still think of it in physical terms, as a different dimension perhaps or an alternate reality (think Adjustment Bureau). When angels reportedly appeared on earth they looked like ordinary men (no wings) otherwise how could Lot have not known who he was entertaining? And post-resurrection it looks like Jesus slipped in and out of various guises and mostly didn’t look like the man who’d been executed a few days earlier otherwise he would’ve been recognised immediately. It’s all very science fictiony. Aliens are always appearing in human guise to keep production costs down. Of course if angels are not of this earth technically they are extraterrestrials who we would explain away as gods. Just think about the Star Trek episode ‘Who Mourns for Adonais?’ I really don’t care about any of it. I feel the same about ghosts. I’m perfectly happy to use any of the above as plot devices—just hang up your beliefs at the door and enjoy—but that’s it.

When I wrote this poem I was, to use a clichéd term, struggling with my faith. I knew a lot—I’ve forgotten more about the Bible than most people ever know—but no matter how much ‘evidence’ I amassed (I use the term loosely) none of it triggered an appreciation for spiritual matters. I had an intellectual and an emotional appreciation of the scriptures (mostly the former) but that was it. People live without a sense of smell or taste. I live without a spiritual side. Do I feel like I’m missing out? If I’m honest then, yes. I don’t like not getting stuff. I don’t like not getting opera but I don’t. I really can’t stand the stuff. But let those who like it get on with it. I don’t deny opera’s existence or try to convince others not to listen to opera and the same goes for religion.

Jim Murdoch said...

I had never heard of jiggling atoms before, Kass. I thought you were just being poetic. Seems not. Seems such an unscientific word, doesn’t it? Bums jiggle, not atoms. This video was helpful-ish.

Gwil W said...

I like the jiggling atoms or whatever they are. Now they say we are 99.9% empty space. Soon it will be 100% empty space or maybe 100% plus. What then? We'll have to face up to the fact that we are only dream stuff as Shakespeare and others have postulated. On the old TV sets you could literally see the photons bursting on the the screen if you tuned it off-channel.

Jim Murdoch said...

I’m afraid it’s all Greek to me, Gwilliam. I took General Science for the first two years at secondary school because it was compulsory but once I got to pick my subjects I dropped them all (it was the last year you could get away with not taking a science to O-Level) and I didn’t take a foreign language either. I really don’t regret either although when I have to introduce science-related bits in my books I’m always a bit uncomfortable. That said the technobabble I do incorporate is WAY above most people’s heads anyway so I’m not sure anyone would pick up on any mistakes. Not sure why I insist on doing it.

Kass said...

That's a good video, Jim. Feynman was an understandable physicist and had misgivings about his involvement in the Manhattan Project so I really respect him.

I wonder if you or Gwil have seen Mind Walk. That's where I first became aware that we are 99.9% empty space. Fritjof Capra's theories are explored in a compelling way.

Thanks for the hall pass on Opera, Jim. I strongly believe we get to enjoy, even to love, what pleases us, without explanation or challenge.

Jim Murdoch said...

I’ve never seen, Mind Walk, Kass. I watch very few documentaries and those that I do watch are invariably related to one of the arts (opera excepted). I won’t say I don’t find science fascinating when I do stumble across something but I’m a specialist, at least that’s how I like to think of myself. Life is a production line and here I am doing my bit which is why I don’t appreciate being chided for not taking more than a cursory interest in subjects like politics or science. I’m not best equipped to. Others are passionate.

Opera I have tried to like. I’m a huge fan of classical music from Gregorian chants right though to serialism and minimalism. There really is very little I don’t listen to and can’t enjoy. Apart from opera. Which doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the odd aria but that’s it. And English-language opera is the worst of the worst. I thought opera was like Guinness, an acquired taste, but I’ve never developed a taste for Guinness either. Now choral music is another thing completely. I love a good choir. Recently rediscovered Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. Wonderful stuff.

Kass said...

Really wonderful. Have you heard O Magnum Mysterium?

Jim Murdoch said...

I have, Kass, yes.

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