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A Tale Of Three Gods
and the choices they present

Copyright © 2003, By Dorian Scott Cole

T'was the silent night of Christmas.
Peace and goodwill soothed the world,
as hope overcame divisiveness,
and expectations of peace unfurled.

The stillness of the night's surface,
belied the worries of the times,
of people with low and high purpose,
with weighty problems on their minds.

A crowd swelled in my conscious
of the tormented and the maimed,
whose plight was set by weakness,
the poor, dying, and the pained.

So I said to God, the one with the power
to make the world, and to take it all away,
"Will you bring peace to us this hour?
People want to know, right now, today."

I heard not a word, but stillness,
lying silently as new-fallen snow.
Was God's heart stricken with illness?
Was there even a god up there, or below?

The crowd grew restless with waiting,
as they thought again of each problem,
and cried, "See the insane killing and hating! "
Use your power and stop them?"

Piercing the silence, the words boomed in reply,
"Send your army to make them be peaceful."
Heard we a wish impossible to deny?
or the voice of the wise all-powerful?

More words flowed from another location,
"I gave you wine and song, this season!
Those people aren't your obligation.
All things are going per plan and reason."

What god delivered this lesson?
The first god spoke the fire of passion.
This god spoke of self-interested reason.
Follow the god of fire, or one in fashion.

So many voices speaking as God,
from whom should I buy his line?
Was there truth, or was there fraud?
So many gods, so little time.

The crowd cried louder in their pathos;
the gods spoke confusion in their showing.
I turned my mind from the chaos.
Was there peace in just not knowing?

In my self-imposed stillness, a quiet voice
strived to be heard, to get my mind to assay.
It whispered to me, while I cynically contrived,
"Tell them my way. Tell them my way."

The crowd refused simplistic answers,
and they cast up a new demand,
"So many people lack shelter.
Why don't you give them land?"

"Follow me," a voice immediately roared,
"and I will give you this land."
But across my mind a question soared,
"People already there would lose their clan."

Another god snickered, "Let the best man win."
I wondered, "Is god's plan to take away?
These answers were a kick in the shin.
Again, the chaos I silenced in dismay.

In my false stillness, a quiet voice strived
to be heard, to get my mind to assay.
It whispered to me, while I cynically contrived,
"To the birds and the animals I gave safe-way.

"I put them among bugbears.
Not one cried out to me,
'We must live here or there
to be who we are to be.'

How much reward to you befalls,
if you treat your neighbors well,
and one day tear down the walls,
making a friend near whom you dwell."

The answer was not gratifying, so
the noisy throng with a new query cried,
"So many people are starving.
Why can't you, food provide?"

A powerful voice blasted the air,
"Let each earn his own way, or starve.
Is not the world I created fair?"
This god of fire, a tough way would carve.

Just as quickly a second god reasoned,
"Why do you care? I filled your belly."
But instantly I remembered the season,
of goodwill, and giving merrily.

My mind was torn by this conflict,
and the chaos again churned within,
so I chose this information to restrict.
Maybe my own peace, at least, to win.

In my false stillness, a quiet voice strived
to be heard, to get my mind to assay.
It whispered to me, while I contrived,
"What have I given to you today?

"I gave you food from my good earth,
grown in abundance, I freely provide,
a charitable heart, I grew in you from birth.
So now, may I ask, who have you denied?"

The crowd surged again to the fore,
hearing nothing pleasing, and demanded,
"So many people are dying on every shore.
Why have you left them stranded?"

The first god, full of advice and power
and an attitude so sour, and unsympathetic
said, "I rained down cures in a shower.
Let them earn them, or stay pathetic."

And then the other god reasoned,
"Everyone dies. What is it to you
when I decide the end of their season?"
I tried to be unknowing, but I already knew.

My mind this question did afflict;
who is to argue with God; it's outlawed.
My mind was torn by this conflict,
and the chaos again churned and clawed.

In my false stillness, a quiet voice strived
to be heard, to get my mind to assay.
It whispered to me, while I contrived,
"What have I given to you today?

"Each year I give you more medical help.
Have you hidden all away as your wealth?
Early death affects hardly a whelp.
Have you offered others good health?"

The crowd would not allow soothing.
So many problems, so little time.
"So much murdering, stealing, and cheating.
Can't you make them each sublime?

One god thundered from his throne,
"Send those reprobates to me,
and I will make them all atone,
or their souls will burn as the penalty.

Of course in a moment or two,
the other god reasoned merrily,
"Eye for an eye is their just due,
so give them their reward, summarily."

Demands and reason produced chaos.
The gods words I knew from days long before.
Would the gods leave me numb and at a loss?
Could they not my confidence restore?

In my false stillness, a quiet voice strived
to be heard, to get my mind to assay.
It whispered to me, while I contrived,
"What have I done for you today?

"Would you treat my children with decency?
Love and forgive them, without wrath,
and show them my ways, and mercy,
and you will help them onto the right path."

My mind was weary of unanswerable quarrels.
I stole away, but the crowd inquired in stealth,
"There are so many poor, and everyone wants additional.
Why can't you bring us all to wealth?"

Immediately the answer of one god professed,
"Follow me, and I will make you prosperous.
I reward those who do my request,
both here and in heaven, I'm most gracious."

And then the god of reason spoke merrily,
"Follow me and life will be fun.
Forget the others, come on let's party.
I will find you money by the ton."

Quiet I sought, yet an answer my mind hunted;
for the poor we have with us always;
do they become invisible, their plight blunted.
Do I even see them through all my days?"

Demands and Reason left me tortured.
I drowned in the chaos of no conviction.
Would the gods let me in the depths stay captured?
Or resolve this profusion of divisive faction?

In my uneasy stillness, a quiet voice strived
to be heard, to get my mind to assay.
It whispered to me, while I contrived,
"What have I done for you today?

"Is losing your money your biggest concern?
Give of yourselves; make your talents apply.
Bear the pain if this bites you in return.
For there's no comparison to what money can buy."

I buried my head, and away I stumbled.
So much advice, so little time.
The crowd relentlessly mumbled and grumbled,
seeking simple answers, easy to mime.

"You're here to please me," one god bellowed.
"Life, as you know, is all about me."
"You're here to have fun," the other god followed.
"Life is all about you, you see."

I ran from the crowd of iterative reprise,
I ignored the god who wanted to bellow,
and the one who reasoned endlessly; all lies?
Their answers all sounded so hollow.

In my unruly stillness, a quiet voice strived
to be heard, to get my mind to assay.
It whispered to me, while I contrived,
"What have I planned for you today?

"I want there to be peace in the dance.
So, wisdom I gave you brethren,
and then I sent all of you as best chance,
that you will bring peace to all my children?"

Author's note: Poetry touches the soul. It does that partly through focus that sometimes distorts issues. The entire topic isn't covered in any breadth. For example, while armies are necessary, the focus here is that armies aren't the first tool to try in making people behave. Similarly, walls and fences separate people (Berlin wall), but fences sometimes assist in making good neighbors through desirable boundaries and common meeting places. Regarding the land where we live, there is a lot to be said for being around people who are "like us." Identity is very important to most of us. So is the increase in progress from sharing interests (as in Silicon Valley). The emphasis on land is about the overemphasis to the point of taking land and removing others.

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