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Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539

Poems by Thomas Grosch (Nuncs)
Decalogue for the Seventies

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It was the Codex Sinaitic:
All its shackles now are shed.
The golden light of freedom glowing,
Ancient superstition dead.

New decalogue to fit the season
Now succeeds the obsolete;
The seventies’ laws must all be worthy;
Law and life henceforth shall meet.

“I am the Lord my God”, the edict;
“No other gods but me”, the theme.
“In Science numinous my credo;
Man is all, his power supreme”.

The pocket, belly, bed or bludgeon,
Take your pick, go right ahead;
Jehovah's reign is long outdated;
Israel’s jealous God is dead.

Unto thyself a graven image,
O new-born man, now shalt thou make,
Just whatsoever seems expedient,
Designed for self or pleasure's sake.

New idols worthy shalt thou worship;
Try the telly for a start,
Now a twentieth century oracle
And a universal tart.

Fall down and worship thy devices,
Little matter what they be;
No outworn God can now deter thee,
No menace from th'almighty “HE”.

In many a court by ancient custom
The name of God an oath hath been;
So thou mayst swear by God Almighty
Guiltlessly at last, I mean.

For thy bread five days shalt labour
For thy mortgage, fridge and car
And so with all those hire commitments,
All thy Damoclean Lar.

Save thy sweat, there's always Saturday,
Double time and lots to drink.
After all, life's so expensive -
Debts and bets and bits of mink!

Was not the Sabbath not made for man sir?
Thou shalt use it as thou wilt:
For now the distant sea is calling.
Join the queue: forget the guilt!

Why honour parents? Why the duty?
Thyself didst never ask to be;
Thy conscience is absolved from debt, lad,
Owed to freedom’s enemy.

“Thou shalt not kill" 'tis plainly written.
The bishop ex cathedra saith:
" 'Tis lawful, 'tis a Christian duty”.
The Almighty might have saved His breath.

Adultery is à la mode now;
Permissive winds are blowing strong
Through the boudoirs of the nation;
Woman's honour for a song.

To steal hath euphemistic titles;
The doing must be justified;
So scrounge or borrow, grab thy fancy:
Stealing has been beautified.

A lie oft leads to someone’s blessing;
Why not thine? So thou mayst bear
False witness when it shows a profit.
I mean, there's always, "Fair's fair”.

Thy neighbour hath and thou hast not, then?
Covet all his worldly goods!
His home, his wife, his central heating,
His cellar and exotic foods.

But caution! Still one law remaineth,
Th’elventh, still unwritten, new;
‘Tis the means to dodge conviction,
Keeps the conscience happy, too.

All ten of Sinai’s laws forbidding,
Thou shalt, if need be, violate;
But take thou care thou art not caught, lad,
For it means a tiresome fate.

Reaction’s louts may seek to rob thee
Of thy new-found freedom's power;
For Sinai's mists may still encompass
Fair emancipation’s bower.

Press on, then: until yester-morning
Thou wert a slave in durance vile;
Man now henceforth is free to worship
Self. Arise and make thy pile!

August 1970.