İ 2002, Creekside Press
"THE BIRTH OF GOD"
by Cranston Stroup
And then, one day, a wistful, waiting world
Beheld a new creature, erect within his cave,
And carving lyric pictures on smoky walls,
Of mammals he had slain. God looked upon
The groping creature there as earth-born mud
Was calling out to find a soul. And while
He looked He loved him. This once-lonely God
Smiled with compassion, and gave as much of love,
Order and beauty as it could contain.
A soul was born in man. And thus did God
Create man in his image. God was glad.
No longer must He work alone to build
His kingdom here. For feebly, blindly man
Was climbing up that awful slope. And God
Was straining in the harness with His sons.
O God, invisible, we see your face;
Incomprehensible, we feel your hand.
Splendid, lovely, cruel and terrible
You sit upon the final peak of time;
Yet feel with delicate and probing touch
The very secret soul of man. The world
Remains a plain and moving evidence
Of your opposed, contrasting attributes.
So wise you are-incomprehensible-
But man must ask why good and evil live
Together in the earth and in the reach
Of that remotest star that superbly swings
Across the margin of the universe.
Yet if we think, we know the law that guides
The growth of God and man says all things change,
Cannot mutate from good to other good.
Evil, the midwife, superintends the change.
(The beetle eats the flower. Evil attends
Its death-an evil for the murdered flower,
But not the beetle. Next a linnet eats
The beetle; benefits the linnet, but
The beetle not at all. A hawk destroys
The linnet, chokes upon a bone and dies.
Thus benefiting neither. Still from off
Their moldering bodies other flowers grow.
And thus the cycle is complete. And all
The beauty that was in this way destroyed
Is not destroyed; but only dies to find
Renascence in the building, shaping mind
Of God. So thus when other beetles, flowers,
And birds are made, they are more beautiful.)
Besides this, God, the perfect artist, knows
That white is but the empty, barren sky
Without the black and shades that lie between
To ground its beauty. Man, who stands alone,
Beautiful, God's most creation... Most
He suffers ... Most he lives. And yet in all
Inflicted pain, he still must realize
That this is indispensably a part
.........................That Shakespeare lives. With each
Small flower that dies, God suffers, too. He is
Compassionate toward every bird that falls.
He suffers most with man: but feels man's joy.
And all the beauty of the world that dies
Is born again within the heart of God.
And so we see frail little man, and God
Remake the world to nearer their desire.
And over the hand that guides the chisel stroke,
The watchful hand of God still shapes the cut,
and builds perfection out of faulty stone!