Harsh Light on the BibleReading in Context

I sit at night,
Wrapped in a shawl preparing to read.
Warm, I sit in my recliner.
A fire burns in my den’s old stone hearth.
I take up the book.
The table-lamp’s friendly liquid light
illumes metaphors of similes of analogies.
Invasions and wars and mayhem and death;
traveling tents turned into temples,
temples transfixed on tentpegs,
temples topped with spires,
temples crowned with thorns,
thorny words that bring no comfort.
This is my work.
I read.

The page is slick; the writing, oily.
The eye slides off,
like a late-night dancer from a lubricated
length of well-polished pole.
This? This is supposed to be holy?

The words are sour; the prose is acrid.
The brain spits up,
like a distempered infant disgorging
a dose of terpin hydrate.
This? This is supposed to be sacred?

The verse is harsh; the stories, dreadful.
The spirit rebels,
like a captive cruel-clawed kitten
being clutched too tightly.
This? This is supposed to be helpful?

She died tonight,
Breathed her last and turned away.
Numb, I sit in the unused chapel.
An electric candle flickers in the darkness.
I pick up a book.
The fluorescent light
callously barging in through the doorway
shines on praises of glories of blessings of forgiveness.
Seas parting, tables spread, honey, milk, wine, bread;
mountaintop holy ground welcoming feet,
feet of the messengers,
feet bathed at Passover,
feet pierced with spikes,
spikenard-like words that succor and soothe.
This is our life.
I read.

The words make sense; the stories comfort.
My soul unwinds
like the knotted cord of an old
black telephone desk set.
This. This is the word of the Lord.

(By C. Eric Funston)