Poems of a Lapsed Catholic


The Lawless Charity


Whenever I gaze at poverty

I see the Church

And her wealth.


Whenever a man is weak

I see him kneel

To the strong.


Wherever a child is hungry

She is told to fast

As a sacrifice.


When night falls

The ruined streets are dark

And the church is set alight.



In Misery Lies Virtue


I am afraid of the voice that speaks in gilded tones.

It seeks and history tells us it shall find.


It will find a shadowy figure asleep

In a body like a used carapace,

And it will whisper in its ear:

“To be hungry is to be the lamb of God.”


What dreams, what hungers, what desires

Has the deprived man not known?

The Leviathan has forgotten him

But he can never escape himself.


There is happiness for him still,

Like blood spurting from a slash wound;

The pleasures of taste, touch, smell and sound

Are his as much as they are a president’s!


And yet he is told to be chaste, obedient

And thrive in his poverty,

As if he were a monk and the streams of abstinence

Were his calling.


There is nothing charitable or laudable

In telling the suffering to celebrate suffering.

There is nothing honourable or kind

In telling the deprived to deprive themselves.


It takes a voice of fear and foul

To make a vice out of the riches of the poor.


I am afraid of the voice that speaks in gilded tones.

It seeks and history tells us it shall find.



Hell: A Nocturne


They cannot reflect a child’s question

The way a mirror reflects the viewers past.

A child asks with the soft jaws of naivette

And they reply with the greedy grin of itching flesh.

Their words are as bitter

As a stray dog’s death.


Lakes, like those of Italy,

Where fire burns hotter than sunlight’s caress.

There you will crackle and sunbathe ad eternum.

What is eternity? A tomorrow that never comes.

To curtail the direness of the hours

There will be your family – pluck off the tears of the heart,

They will suffer alongside you a thousand agonies

That never cease even as you close your eyes.


What goodness can I devour

To avoid it all?

Look inside your soul and you will know.

Know what?

Find your inner voice, let it guide you.

My inner voice tells me to

Steal what I never could own,

To lust after all that is illustrious,

To taste the salted meat of all creation,

And to use words I’m told I cannot use.

Why is the voice inside so corrupt

When I am made in God’s image?


Aha – that is for us to know.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Lapsed, perhaps, but rich nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

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