Beset by gods

30 Aug

 Beset by gods

Their idols are silver and gold,

    made by human hands.

Those who make them will be like them,

    and so will all who trust in them—Psalm 115

Coin was her god, 

she became like a coin.

Everything depreciated 

so everything appreciated

and then it makes a profit.

Work was his god;

he became like his work.

His soul was absorbed, 

he was declared irreplaceable

before he was expendable.

Admiring cheers made him Adonis—

ah! his running and jumping 

his catching and throwing

and hitting the ball with such skill—

until his fickle body betrayed him.

And there’s the god

of buying, exhorting us:

“Spend for the common good,

‘til you become consumer kings 

and queens—making others rich!”

America—the greatest god of all?

Its myths, its legendary heroes.

its sacred castes—invoking the real God

to sanctify its sins—enlisting us

to march in its parades.

We are beset by gods,

each one out to win us.

It’s our souls they’re after,

to suck the marrow of our bones, 

to drink away our lives like Draculas.

It’s healing we seek,

the wholeness of our parts,

when we give all we have.

The gods take it all 

gladly—not caring 

that we’ve emptied ourselves.

We’ve given ourselves away

on unsatiated altars—

to divinities who devour

the gifts and the givers alike.

(c) Phil Hefner 8/29/2001.    

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