Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The God of the Physicians (A Glosa)

like one of those slow diseases
of the joint or the bone
that doctors diagnose in terms you recognize
as bigger words for dying.

“How It Will Happen,” Bronwen Wallace

I was reading a book on modernity,
and it told me that God wasn’t just dead;
He was justifiably executed by philosophy.
He’d been buried next to Santa Claus’ cenotaph
and the Easter bunny’s empty grave.
As a transcendental notion He eases
the Oedipal husk of childhood grudges
but in a healthy society religion haunts
old men’s minds; it warps and seizes
like one of those slow diseases.

I had to ask myself whether the author
of that book, who’s long exhaled his last,
realized that Descartes’ radical doubt
fell short of the mountainous monks who floated
beneath the frenzy of their ego-less thoughts.
Easy enough to say that author died alone,
joining no ancestral procession, but the geneticist
measures his spectres in levels of carbon
monoxide hallucination and the neural drone
of the joint or the bone.

Long dead is the mysterious world;
now answers tame as easily as early dogs.
Neurologists preach an epileptic Muhammad,
meditate on posterior superior parietal lobes,
and convert to transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Now Jesus Christ will anaesthetize
Lazarus with the suppressed proletariat,
and Donne’s holy agues are simply common
colds and pneumonia and I realize
that doctors diagnose in terms you recognize.

The homilies are now irrational
numbers, higher powers are exponents,
and thinkers on the problem of evil
suggest democracy and capitalism as cures.
Unsolved mysteries aren’t numinous
but symptoms of simply not trying,
and instead of nirvana or rapture
the modernists propose lack of brain
function, expiry, or flat-lining
as bigger words for dying.

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin