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? William Blake | Main | Sam Gamgee in Mordor ?

May 20, 2005

The Unutterable Beauty

"Faith"

How do I know that God is good? I don't.
I gamble like a man. I bet my life
Upon one side in life's great war. I must,
I can't stand out. I must take sides. The man
Who is a man a neutral in this fight is not
A man. He's bulk and body without breath,
Cold leg of lamb without mint sauce. A fool.
He makes me sick. Good Lord! Weak tea! Cold slops!
I want to live, live out, not wobble through
My life somehow, and then into the dark.

I must have God. This life's too dull without,
Too dull for aught but suicide. What's man
To live for else? I'd murder some one just
To see red blood. I'd drink myself blind drunk,
And see blue snakes if I could not look up
To see blue skies, and hear God speaking through
The silence of the stars. How is it proved
It isn't proved, you fool; it can't be proved.
How can you prove a victory before
It's won? How can you prove a man who leads,
To be a leader worth the following,
Unless you follow to the death--and out
Beyond mere death, which is not anything
But Satan's lie upon eternal life?
Well--God's my leader, and I hold that He
Is good, and strong enough to work His plan
And purpose out to its appointed end.
I am no fool, I have my reasons for
This faith, but they are not the reasonings,
The coldly calculated formulae
Of thought divorced from feeling. They are true,
Too true for that. There's no such thing as thought
Which does not feel, if it be real thought
And not thought's ghost--all pale and sicklied o'er
With dead conventions--abstract truth--man's lie
Upon this living, loving, suff'ring Truth,
That pleads and pulses in my very veins,
The blue blood of all beauty, and the breath
Of life itself. I see what God has done,
What life in this world is. I see what you
See, this eternal struggle in the dark.
I see the foul disorders, and the filth
Of mind and soul, in which men, wallowing
Like swine, stamp on their brothers till they drown
In puddles of stale blood, and vomitings
Of their corruption. This life stinks in places,
'Tis true, yet scent of roses and of hay
New mown comes stealing on the evening breeze,
And through the market's din, the bargaining
Of cheats, who make God's world a den of thieves,
I hear sweet bells ring out to gayer, and see
The faithful kneeling by the Calvary
Of Christ.
I walk in crowded streets where men
And women, mad with lust, loose-lipped and lewd,
Go promenading down to hell's wide gates;
Yet have I looked into my mother's eyes,
And seen the light that never was on sea
Or land, the light of Love, pure Love and true,
And on that Love I bet my life. I back
My mother 'gainst a whore when I believe
In God, and can a man do less or more?
I have to choose. I back the scent of life
Against its stink. That's what Faith works out at
Finally. I know not why the Evil,
I know not why he Good, both mysteries
Remain unsolved and both insoluble.
I know that both are there, the battle set,
And I must fight on this side or on that.
I can't stand shiv'ring on the bank,
I plunge Head first. I bet my life on Beauty, Truth,
And Love, not abstract but incarnate Truth,
Not Beauty's passing shadow but its Self.
Its very self made flesh Love, realised.
I bet my life on Christ--Christ Crucified.
Behold your God! My soul cries out. He hangs,
Serenely patient in His agony,
And turns the soul of darkness into light.
I look upon that body, writhing, pierced
And torn with nails, and see the battlefields
Of time, the mangled dead, the gaping wounds,
The sweating, dazed survivors straggling back,
The widows worn and haggard, still dry-eyed,
Because their weight of sorrow will not lift
And let them weep; I see the ravished maid,
The honest mother in her shame; I see
All history pass by, and through it all
Still shines that face, the Christ Face, like a star
Which pierces drifting clouds, and tells the Truth.
They pass, but it remains and shines untouched,
A pledge of that great hour which surely comes
When storm winds sob to silence, fury spent
To silver silence, and the moon sails calm
And stately through the soundless seas of Peace.
So through the clouds of Calvary--there shines
His face, and I believe that Evil dies,
And Good lives on, loves on, and conquers all--
All War must end in Peace. These clouds are lies.
They cannot last. The blue sky is the Truth.
For God` is Love. Such is my Faith, and such
My reasons for it, and I find them strong
Enough. And you? You want to argue? Well,
I can't. It is a choice. I choose the Christ.

- G. A. Studdert Kennedy

Posted by Ghost of a flea at May 20, 2005 06:24 PM

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