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A time to die


Those men inspired
by thoughts of God tore
Ireland apart, declared
war on the world.
How can I be sure
their thoughts of God weren't
God? These were men of prayer -
men who understood
that prayer is hearing.
How am I to know
what voice these mass
murderers heard? I think
of Thomas Traherne,
quiet in the midst
of the storm, seeing
always the beauty
of the world being torn
- his tranquility, was it
under the circumstances, just
a form
of madness? of not
The desert fathers -
they didn't have to see,
beneath the ugliness,
the beauty - they sought out
the ugliness. Jack
Clemo's 'Christ
in the Claypit',
may not have been close but might
be closer - and yet
Traherne was right.
We are not the microcosm but
the macrocosm - otherwise
our sins would hardly matter,
any more than the dew
from the edge
of the leaf.
Our sins seem
to radiate and to become
bigger with time.
So in the blood
shed by the men
who believed in God
the image of God
was smeared
all over the face
of the world.