Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What is the world seeking?

(This week's Search Engine Fiction prompt)

Seek and You Shall Find

The poisoned wind blows through the bare trees,

And the birds fall from the purple-grey sky

Dead as a nailed door.

The kingmen and their shadows eat until bursting

Then dream of golden toilets,

While the children eat black worms

Scratched from the hard earth.

And the churches fill.

She looks at her only son axed in two

By a man who could not accept no

And punished her for her audacity.

Another son, against all rational thought,

Walks into the wall of bullets

Without a chance of survival,

Holding tight to those

Memorised stars and stripes.

And the churches fill.

He slips the money out from under their dripping noses,

Then pales his face for the cameras just in time

To snag government’s ignorance.

Working from dawn to dusk,

The house is gone,

Her children lay down their heads

On the plywood beds

Of the shelter and, oddly,

She still believes in the lie.

And the churches fill.

The stones rain down on her

For a misplaced love.

She will pay with her life,

Torn from her piece by piece,

By the righteous who know better.

The brown boy pulled from his family

To be anglicised, civilised by the state.

Life and culture ripped away.

Adult, he hangs in an alcoholic abyss

That he alone is blamed for.

And the churches fill.

What is the world seeking?

They know.

Push and shove.

Find your place.

There is little time

To receive salvation

For crimes too many to count.

Listing them will only burden our progress;

Wipe it clean with the cover of your holy book

And all will walk through the pearly gates,

Where virgins wait or wings for flight.

Close mind to pain and suffering,

It is mortal and of no consequence.

Holy talk will heal your wounded heart.

All is forgiven,



And the churches fill.


deola said...

Oh yes the churches fill while attrocities multiply. maybe the world is seeking what cannot be gotten. Nice work.

Lauri said...

I think that may be the very issue. We seek but we can't find and the futility of it forces us to look for an answer, the easier the better.

Thanks for your comment Deola.

Anonymous said...

I find it rather insightful and the painful reminder that not all problems can be solve or ignore but hopefully people with faith will somehow heal some of the wounds, powerful words you have written

Anonymous said...

Strike me down for being an agnostic for saying this but your wonderful piece highlights the fact that we are looking for solutions to the world's problems in the wrong places.

I think many people do turn to the church because they feel a sense of hopelessness and are seeking solace, but in the end it's not the method needed to effect change.

Praying for the poor starving children in the world isn't going to put food in their bellies. It's a sad fact. Attending church for many people is just another form of avoidance. To find what we are really seeking we need to be proactive in the community and stand up and face things. I believe it is the activists (and I include writers in that group) who will save the world from itself, not those who bow their heads in prayer.
Sorry for such a long-winded comment but you struck a chord with me!

Lauri said...

You know I wrote this after watching a news piece on evangelical churches in Uganda. There is a strange fusion that happens in Africa when you get rabid Christians and African traditionalists together. Unfortunately, for the people who flock there they hope the combination of the two 'magics' will bring them relief. For the once at the front, it is all about the bucks.

Like you say Selma- it leads people to be inactive observers of their own lives, waiting for that divine intervention that never comes. Sad I agree.

Anonymous said...

"The poisoned wind blows through the bare trees,
And the birds fall from the purple-grey sky
Dead as a nailed door."

incredible opening line

"Walks into the wall of bullets..."

chilling image - superb

"Wipe it clean with the cover of your holy book..."

an unfortunate truth, gets me thinking about Marx, and realizing that in some ways he was right - "Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions."
Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

there is too often such a cavernous gulf between religion and spirit, between dogma and genuine compassion - this poem confronts these and many other critically important issues, and is so well done - In addition to the great imagery, I love the phrasing and drum-like repetition of the church line

Thanks for the really great read, and for getting me thinking about this.

Lauri said...

'The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.'

And what about that?
To give up a condition which needs illusions- yes,yes.

Emmanuel Sigauke said...


You might consider sending poetry here:

Lauri said...

Thanks Emmanuel I'll check it out but honestly I don't think I'm a poet and might be a bit scared jumping in that pool. These seem to come out from Selma's wonderful prompts at Search Engine Fiction. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not channeling my mother who was a poet. I wrote this and the other two poems on this site by just sitting down at the computer and typing. I had no idea what I was going to write- it just came out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lauri,
I must agree with the other commenter’s. What I specifically like about your poem is how it is full of sentiment but avoids being overtly sentimental in any ham-fisted way. I also
Find the understated, matter-of-fact manner in which the info of the poem is presented and its overall tone underscores well its theme. It (your poem) reminds me of a lot of Arabic poems I have read, which deal with great atrocities couched in simple, yet poetic language.

It is always great when a poem just comes as one type. But I think your very good poem might become a great one if you leave it aside for a month or so, and then come back to it and give another look.

Thanks for the thought-provoking read.DavidM

Lauri said...

Hi David,
I'm not a poet and no nothing at all about writing poetry though I've fallen in love wioth performance poetry of late and read published poems from preformance poets I love.

I am going to take your advice. I will leave it and then re-write. If it changes enough perhaps I'll submit for Bessie head Prize next year. If you have more specific crits (I have a hard shell so you can be very honest) I'd appreciate if you get a chance and send to I'd be very thankful.

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