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Archive for October, 2008

Help

This may be my last blog for a while. I don’t know what happened, but when I opened up my computer this evening, the box containing “My Favorites”, in which I had Meander With Me installed, plus every other site I’ve downloaded into it is gone! Something happened while I was gone during the day. It was there this morning. I gained access because I keep a copy of my URL in my email letter box. Tomorrow I’ll call in some help. I feel robbed!

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I happened upon a blog yesterday in which the blogger extolled all the good things with which God had blessed him/her and I could not but recall to mind a poem I  wrote and included in my book The Iconoclast. I realize that it needs some editing, which I will take care of, someday, but until then, I give you . . .
LEV. 13:46 “The leper who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry, `Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he shall dwell alone in a habitation outside the camp.
Question: Is there so much as one scripture in the entire Bible where God commands the Israelites to feed, house and care for the lepers driven from the camp?
THE LEPER

Leviticus 13: 1 through 14:57

“… and the leper in whom the plague lies

shall rent his clothes and bare his head.,

With covered mouth shall come the dreadful cries,

Unclean! Unclean!

He, who has the plague shall be defiled

so says the law—and Moses saw the law as good.

I wish I understood.

 

That little blemish, nothing more,

was still a troubling, unknown sore

that plagued the very depths of me.

It caused the priests to search me for

signs of dreaded leprosy.

Though a bird was duly slaughtered

in an earthen vessel over running water,

no blood of sacrificial fowl could take my “sin” away.

Now, day by day, I’ll know what damnation’s all about.

From this time on, adversity will be my foe.

While yet living, as my body decomposes,

an outcast, a pariah I shall be.

God, through Moses, says it’s so.

Though terror-filled—it pained me more—

the way my friends drew back from me

lest the plague should spread

and strike them dead.

The leprosy is on the leper’s head.

He must repent his sin of leprosy.

He must pay for his misdeeds”.

That is how the Good Book reads

I know not the sin the Good Lord saw,

nor do I know just how or when I broke the law.

Right now, I’m trying hard to see

why God is wroth with me.

My clansmen, it’s lonely here outside the camp.

I miss my family and I’m cold.

The desert air at night is damp

and fear is my companion.

Within my breast beats doubt.

Panic breathes in. Despair breathes out.

Beyond the crest of yonder hill

the smoke of new made sacrifice

rises up to God. Tonight I’ll sleep on sod

while priests, in comfort, sleep instead

each on his cushioned bed.

My banishment? a guarantee

the tribe no longer fears my leprosy.

Is death the only solace left to me?

Each and every jot and tittle,

every detail, every word that Moses heard,

is observed. Not one senseless law omitted.

The priests are quite committed

for after all, do they not live

full well on tithes the people give?

 

Have you no solace, Lord, for me

here in my Gethsemane?

Could you not have written into law

a few commandments on the plight

of lepers sent into the night?

Could you not have given Moses

laws to aid the leper’s need:

commanded him to give full heed

to housing, clothing, food and care,

or remedies to ease our pain?

Will we ever laugh and love again

are we forever doomed to witness fear

when we draw near to others,

once our sisters and our brothers?

We follow the letter of the law.

Our robes are torn, our hair as straw

and hangs loosely on each head.

We make our beds in caves.

We are but slaves to horror and to dread.

The hated dogs that roam the camp

have it not so mean.

We cover our upper lip and cry,

Unclean! Unclean!

We are the meanest of the living-dead.

 

Tonight I sit here all alone,

a wretched man with heart turned stone.

 

Moses saw the law as good.

I wish I understood.”

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Eating To Please God

I am using an article from The Port St. Lucie News. Saturday, October 11, 2008 with the headline, More People Saying Diet Must Reflect the Divine, for today’s blog. Seems people of all faiths, Christians, Jews and Muslims are exploring how to better reflect their moral values with the food they consume. While I have a difficult time trying to understand what one’s moral values have to do with one’s daily food consumption, I’m certainly not opposed to the fact that a well balanced diet contributes to both good health and to a possible extended life. I believe the writer is in safe territory when reading: Thinking of diet in religious terms is, of course, hardly new. Jews and Muslims have long followed kosher and halal codes. It was not until I came to the end of the article and read that the faithful are now tackling new terrain that I paused to fully consider these words . . . they now want to discuss how God might want them to eat in the light of  new research. My first thought was, really? Then it hit me. It was, in reality, God, anticipating such a likelihood who pushed my mother into preparing that slimy cooked oatmeal for breakfast when I was a kid. But, I digress. The writer suggest we should consider conditions in the food supply as one of God’s requirements. But of course we don’t have to worry about that as long as we continue to import out-of-season fruits and vegetables. the environment was of course mentioned, but we hardly need concern ourselves with weather problems as long as ships sail, airplanes fly and trains run on railroad tracks. I noticed one little item misssing from the article and that was: how fortunate that much of the world’s population need not conceern themselves with worrying whether or not they are eating in a manner that pleases God because . . . there is so damn little for them to eat in the first place. The title, “More People Must Reflect the Divine”, reminded me of one of my early poems. I give you . . . Pray, Let Us Eat. I have another in mind, but I’ll save that for just before Thanksgiving.  

 

PRAY, LET US EAT

 

Bow your heads above your dinners,
men and women, saints and sinners.
On this food, oh Lord, a blessing:
meat and dumplings, peas and dressing.
Look not on our adipose
but bless, we pray, this overdose
of calories, propitiatory.
May we use them to thy glory.
Gravy, yams and succotash
for which we paid out good, cold cash.
Bless, oh Lord, our mastication.
Receive in turn our adulation
for giving us more than we need
while turning deaf when others plead
for bread to see them through the day.
To you, oh Lord, we daily pray.
Yea, Lord, all are thine creation.
It’s just that we’ve a concentration
of your love and of your pleasure
brimming over with good measure
by which we are assured, Dear Lord,
you do approve our groaning board!

   My sister Betty’s comment when she began reading the above poem? Oh, my god. She’s got religion, again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ah, The Joys Of Email

Today’s blog no doubt could use some severe editing, but It’s been a lousy week for original thinking. I did return to the Thursday Morningside Writer’s this week in hopes it is what I need to overcome a bit of the “blahs” and to hopefully restore a bit of ambition into a brain that somehow slipped its leash and went roaming. Reminds me a bit of a ‘made-for-television’ movie, “Come Back Little Sheba”  with Burt Lancaster and . . . I’ll think of her name right after I post this. In case I can’t, name appreciated. 
 The following is but an excerpt taken from an email that appears to be making the “E-Mail Circuit. I have lifted those passages I think explains the subject . . .
THE ONE DOLLAR BILL  
 
      . . . The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal to be applied.  It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved. Notice the face is lighted, and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning. We had not begun to explore the West or decided what we could do for Western Civilization. The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished. . . . Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity . . . .  and not just the Christian version of God . . . It was Franklin’s belief that one man couldn’t do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything. ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ is on this currency.
 
My response: I’ll omit commenting on such inconsequencials as to which side of a face is lit and the other side shadowed. A profile requires light and shadow, thus eliminating the inscrutable, so I’ll get straight to the words, “In God We Trust is on this currency“. That is a downright lie as applied to the seal that Benjamin Franklin and other patriots designed. I believe that It was not until the middle 1950s that the words, ‘In God We Trust” appeared on currency minted by the United States of America. 
    I haven’t a doubt in the world that Franklin, as well as all patriots who fought to free this country from a tyrant of a king—and any and all “forced” religious creeds, tenets and dogmas—would have fought and fought valiantly against the addition.
    As a “Freethinker” I am forced to deny my unbelief every time I make a purchase, not that it bothers me. At least it won’t bother me as long as religious “bigots” don’t try to gain control over the manner in which I choose to spend my “In God We Trust” currency. The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover the “religious right” trying to do just that in the not too far distant future. I suppose I should be grateful to them every time I am “given” permission to purchase a bottle of wine.  I have to face the possibility that our next Vice President could be a person who, not only believes a woman, no matter the circumstance has no right to control her own body, but is a believer in witches and witchcraft. If that comes about, anything’s possible.      
Mary A. Gallagher Kaufman, Freethinker.

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Not that I can claim to have read them all, but I have some two dozen, or more, self-published books written by friends, acquaintances, or from writers I have met here on the lower, southeast coast of Florida. This morning I chose one from the lot, a book containing several short stories followed by a novelette. I wish the author had put it into the hands of a qualified editor before making it available for sale. I wish the author had asked me to read the original manuscript before sending it off to be published. Some twenty pages into the novelette, one of the characters is shot through the heart. I think I can safely assume that a bullet crashing into the heart causes instant death. I’ve watched enough crime series to believe that once the heart ceases to beat, blood ceases to flow. Unless I am badly mistaken, the author erred and erred grievously when, just two paragraphs later, the victim is found with blood forming a red pool beneath the body.

The author leaves me confused when I am led to assume in one sentence that another character, who is found in soiled clothing and urine-soaked pants, has been given clean clothing before taken off by the police, but in the following sentence he is described as still wearing the same trousers. Perhaps I am being overly picky when objecting to such a minor thing as the use of the word ‘odor’ when the word ‘aroma’ is needed to describe fresh baked bread or a glazed ham emerging from an oven.

However, I can afford to be smug. I rest easy. Something like that is not to be my fate because I have never once dreamed seriously of having my writing published. So far, I have written solely for my own fulfillment and for my children and grandchildren. If I live long enough and decide to have what I’ve written so far self-published, I won’t depend on my limited expertise at editing. Expertise editing requires strictly unbiased eyes.

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