Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539

Poems by Thomas Grosch (Nuncs)
The Death of God


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THE DEATH OF GOD

PROLOGUE

So God is dead: Long Live the Gods! the old,
The wild, unchanging gods of man’s desire,
The gods who dwell in temples made with hands
And gorge the filth their human thralls present,
Oblations proffered in the cause of self,
Reciprocating worship with a smile,
Grim omen of the fate that overtakes
The devotees of those imperious powers
That know no mercy, pity love or grace.
Now obsequies of Joy are ushering forth
The myths of Genesis and Golgotha.
Technology will speed the parting foe
And speak a fond farewell to all his ways,
To introduce a new, salubrious age
Of licence yet unknown, the conscience dead,
Psychoses ostracised. Permissive suns
Now light the scene with atavistic glare
In full emancipation’s gay delight.
No Decalogue now bars the way to bliss;
And “Thou shalt not;” foul foe of freedom, dies.
Ecstatic Prospect! Hail, Utopia!

God may be dead, yet godless there is none,
The human heart perforce by nature driven
To adore no matter what or whom. Man shapes
His gods in likeness of himself: henceforth
As many gods as men, some few of which
We shall in strains liturgical rehearse:-

1. HYMN TO MAMMON.

Mammon is my shepherd; now I lie
In pastures green
Beside my neighbour’s wife.
I shall not want
Nor shall any who for gain
Will gratify my lusts or swell the means
whereby I prosper.
Praise the god of wealth!
His rod and staff
Shall comfort me.
None shall convert my soul
For paths of righteousness are ill defined.
Assuredly no evil do I fear,
Conversant as I am with all its ways;
For none surpasses my malignity
If there be profit in it.
In youth I was anointed with the oil
That eases all transactions lucrative.
My cup is full, Indeed:
And may thy loving-kindness, precious god,
Ever follow me
And I shall dwell in plenty all my days.

2. PRAYER TO MORPHEUS.

Beloved Morpheus, hearken to my prayer;
Enfold thy servant in those arms divine,
Those soothing arms ethereal and benign;
Bestow thy priceless benison on thy child.
In pity take my spirit to thyself
And come, dispense the drug I crave;
The needle’s puncture now
Now from the world’s banalities
Deliver one who daily hymns thy praise
Anon must I return
To harsh reality and life’s eternal stress:
’Tis little matter.
Release me but a space
To sleep away the mourn in heavenly bliss
Of heroin or LSD.,
That lift my soul to those celestial realms
Of golden light and dream forgetfulness.
Come, burst the ties that hold me here
Where all is stark and drab
And men by custom stale
In the eternal trivialities
Of daily chores are pent.
So shall I ever worship and adore
And dying lips shall stammer out thy praise.

3.HAIL TO THE LORD OF HOSTS.

Hail, mighty Mars, great god of battles dread
From Trojan plains to Nagasaki fought,
Thou pitiless, steel-eyed arbiter of war
Who ever flingst thy favours to the strong.
What matter if thy judgement partial be
So men thy need of fleshly tribute pay
To load thine altars with gifts of death?
Coward and hero, sons and sires alike,
To tropic suns or northern snows inured.
Lie side by side in death, by war seduced,
Each fighting for his father and beloved,
The bloody toll of bayonet, gas and gun.
Now, think you, does that brotherhood of souls
Now view the ingratitude of love betrayed
While Mars’ intrigues in triumph forward go?
The solemn thud of human feet his drum,
The whine of bombs his angry trumpet’s snarl:
His minions murder, arson, rape, deceit,
In time of peace condemned, at war’s alarm
Most worthy to be praised: all wars are just
And justice sanctifies what serves its ends.
Whoe’er created man created him
To lackey man’s primeval, vengeful bent;
And all the power-mad tyrants who have stalked
Across the earth have bowed the knee to Mars;
These are his special care; imperial sway
Has been their just reward. His ends are served
By hieratic blessings of his xoana.
Incarceration’s need awaits the few
Who scorn his power, distain his monstrous works.
A victory won is not a soul regained
And victory’s oft by traitorous man misused.
But wield thy precious pruning-hook, O mars!
Curtail prolific man’s unending breed,
Soon to outnumber all the stars of heaven,
E’en though its blade excise life’s virile youth
And spare its worn, effete and crabbed old.
March on, Olympian deity malign!
For ne’er will war’s injustice baulk thy path:
When man shall on thy newest ordnace gaze
Then craven dread shall end thy grisly reign.

4. GREAT IS DIANA!

Diana, great goddess of the English hunt,
Of bloodsport patron deity,
All hail, thou beauteous spirit of pursuit!
With thee their guide,
In flashing scarlet habit of the chase
Thy noisy rout,
Intent upon a kill,
Through England’s fields of emerald sheen
Pursue Renard,
(Now doomed to make a British holiday.)
Forth rides the hunting goddess fair,
(The sport of all the kings her chief delight,)
The noble art of slaughter still her joy:
The shafts that from a goddess’ bow are winged
Must needs attain their mark.
The lone defenceless victim of the chase,
Though guiltless of Actaeon’s shameful crime,
Actaeon’s fate must share.
The brand of Artemis
Has marked her down for slaughter’s agony.
And now, o’erwhelmed by baying hounds, the prey
Her litter leaves forlorn,
In absence of their dam foredoomed to die.
Now all is done: the kill is on
And with approaching death
The riven carcase scarce can hear the cry:
“Great is Diana of the English chase!”

5. HYMN TO APHRODITE PORNÉ.

Now celebrate with universal praise
Th’omnipotent goddess in her brothel shrine,
Great Aphrodite Porne, queen of Sex.
Let orgiastic paeans of delight
From frenzied votaries now upward swell
In precincts trod by priestly prostitutes.
Delicious deity, all-embracing power,
Seductive source of pornographic lore,
Thou concubine of all the Olympian gods,
Chief goddess of the nineteen-seventy world.
What gifts, sweet goddess, does thy worship bring!
E’en though fierce envy stalk the steps of joy
And rabid virus in the blood be sown
And passed from youth to youth in thine embrace;
What though full many a new emergent life
Be murdered ere it see the light of day
And many a life be born to blush with shame.
’Tis naught against the rapture of thy bed:
Thou art a goddess, thy celestial power
What man can spurn? ‘Tis paramount, divine.
Before thine altars be for ever sung
In aphrodisiac hymns thy praise condign.

6. O COME, LET US WORSHIP MOLOCH.

All glory unto Moloch,
Gehenna’s vampire god,
Whose altars reek with blood of slaughtered souls,
With human sacrifice by human hands bestowed,
The victims of his worshippers
And war begun in national pride
Or ravening lust of conquest,
And some by brother’s hand dispatched,
With all the blood for ever shed in vain.
His temple bells give tongue,
His altars flow
While from his walls
Huge trophies glorious hang,
Harvest of all the priest-blest means of war
And slaughter of unnumbered mothers’ sons.
“This god I’ll serve
With bloody sacrifice:
I reck not who shall bleed,
So I prevail”.
Whereat ascend on high with raucous din
Hysteric anthems from his impious crew.

Then come the offerings:
First the blood
Of little children murdered at their play
And outraged women slain
To hide the lust of louts
Whose hearts are barred to pity
And their minds
To fear of justice: sad, piteous mites,
Never to know
Adulthood and the joys of waxing strong
To look upon the full-grown noonday beam,
The slender thread
Without remorse now severed by a hand defiled;
And all heaven’s kingdom tears of anguish sheds.
See these, cut off in verdant youth sublime,
By brother’s hand of dearest life bereft
In jealous hatred or, by Mars arraigned,
Snatched Icarus-like from out the vault of heaven
In foreign field alone, unwept, to die.

Such spoils on Moloch’s altar now are laid
To glut the vicious, foul, insatiate maw
With all the blood inordinately shed
Since Cain’s primeval monstrous shame.
(Let Moloch gorge his flesh: behold,)
Th’ immortal souls transcendent, undefiled
To eternal peace and bliss unending fly.

7. HYMN TO BACCHUS.

Now come, let us hallow the master of merriment
Whose shrine it the bistro, whose temple the pub.
Extol ye with praises his suit epidemical:
Bow down before him; great Bacchus adore!

Now raise up your glasses and utter a prayer to him,
Friend of the toper, disperser of care,
The lord or the hopfield, the grape and the wine-presses;
Glorious deceiver, seductive, malign.

The bars now re-echo with songs adulatory,
Exchequer and vintners will thunder his praise;
Inspirer of orgies - the wild Bacchanalia,
Relaxer of standards and looser of tongues.

Besotted, deluded, with progress precarious
The mesmerised suppliant staggers away:
Divine inspiration has robbed his of manhood ;
The incense of Bacchus has fevered the brain

Delirium, stupor, obscenity, tragedy,
Women neglected and children bereft:
Inspirer of murder, rapine and seduction:
Alas, the remorse when the conscience awakes!

The tortuous tangle of steel on the motorway,
Spattered with blood, body broken and torn;
Bacchus orgy of speed, modern Marnada have ravished him,
Mangled and rent like the Pentheus of old.

His acolytes rarely Content with satiety;
Excess brings the frenzy that shatters the soul:
Manic parading of drink-sodden revelry;
Such is the nature of Bacchus, the god.

8. O MYSTIC SCIENCE.

Hail, youthful deity,
Science adored;
God of duplicity,
Bountiful lord!

Janus-like, double
The god gazes down;
This way a benison,
That way a frown.

Numinous aura
Great Science surrounds:
Profit commensurate
Often redounds.

Lunar excursions,
Coryza still rife:
Computer precision,
For cancer the knife.

Helio’ horses
Caged and controlled;
Nuclear weapon -
Phaethon, we’re told. . . . . .

Mechanical monster
Bestriding the earth,
Technology’s godchild;
Man gave it birth;

The child become deity,
Acolyte sire,
Who dances attendance
In servitude dire;

Bacchanal revelry,
Cithaeron M1 -
Limit in tatters,
Glorious fun!

Industrial automaton,
Science’s pride -
Morbid monotony,
Labour denied.

Entropy, Angström,
Calculus, Signs,
Osmosis, Infinity,
Strontium, Dynes

Are jargonal liturgy
Godward addressed;
Ignorant worshippers
Doing their best.

Household facilities,
Science applied;
Comforts domestic
And profits beside.

Then vivisection,
Medicine’s price;
No reciprocity
Only the mice

Forceps and scalpel,
Stethoscope, pills,
Psychoses, phobias,
Multiple ills;

Medical enterprise,
Therapy found;
Glory to Science;
Its blessing abound.

Blessings and curses,
Dichotomy sad:
And how men abuse it!
Is Sapiens mad?

The firmament charted,
Probed Time and Space:
Th’ Eternal? Can Science
Look on her face?

What page in the textbook
Are Absolutes found?
And powers of Evil?
Can Science expound?

Oscilliograph Justice?
The unit of Truth?
The size of Beatitude,
Virtue or Youth?

Here methods empirical
Little avail;
An order of Being
Where Science must fail.

No deity, surely?
No godhead is here;
No object for worship;
Just wonder sincere.

To things of the spirit
No meters apply.
Let’s creep from the temple,
Leave Science the “WHY?”

9.ODE TO MAN.

A new creator now behold,
Great evolution’s crown,
A god of gods and lord of lords,
MAN, lately come to town.

O grand new world by man designed!
A golden age to be!
Such promise of the things sublime
Betokens deity.

Man scales the heights terrestrial
And Neptune’s realm surveys:
The canvas speaks his heavenly skill,
His sporting ventures daze.

His pen the living world portrays,
His fingers pluck the strings;
His voice the tragic muse declaims
And lays triumphal sings.

And oh, the figments of his brain,
The offspring of his mind!
Those dreams imagination feigns,
Exquisite light refined.

New cities grand, immensurate,
Fling up their vaunting towers
Against the very gates of heaven.
Could angels boast such powers?

Great stately empires proud he builds,
Innate the lust for power:
A god by right, since mastery
Appears his natural dower.

His playground is the universe,
His little fingers probe
Celestial secrets in the folds
Of some creator’s robe.

He tames the horses of the sun,
The whirlwind fierce applies:
His toys the lunar surface scan,
His wings assail the skies.

Who could forbear to hymn his praise,
Great Sapiens divine,
And humbly lisp the worship due,
Omnipotence assign?

But caution! Wisdom will descry
Those fragile feet of clay.
’Twere mad, insensate, at those feet
Immortal souls to lay.

And do we in the mirror see
A countenance benign,
A sempiternal majesty,
Sublimity divine?

His pretty schemes can come to naught,
His plans may go awry,
His ventures in the heights and depths
But rarely satisfy.

His aims are oft ephemeral,
He wearies of his toys
And soon his fancy vacillates:
He rarely counts his joys.

“More sinned against than sinning”, cries
When fortune is perverse;
And calls upon his gods and meets
Injustice with a curse.

At times his searching eyes he blinds
With intellectual light;
Beside some lethal weapon stands
And shudders at the sight.

His empires vanish into night,
His cities oft decline;
The years will dim his sporting fame:
Omnipotent? Divine?

And is his mercy bountiful?
And are his foes his care?
And would he sacrifice his all
Some brother’s ills to share?

There are who’d have us prostrate fall
And deify the race.
’Tis pity, ’tis, that God is dead;
He had a wondrous face.

EPILOGUE.

Millennia have passed since first of old
Our early forbears fashioned for their use
The now notorious gods of pagan days -
Great Jahveh’s might and Jove’s celestial crew.
Still great Olympus rears its hoary head
And with Gehenna vies to tempt from man
His whole allegiance: Greek theocracy
Is modern as the hour: its gods supreme
Still hold their ancient sway; so great the minds
That knew man’s nature and supplied his need
And gave their gods the attributes of men
That gods with brother man be reconciled,
But Greeks to manhood grew and put away
The childish things that marked their infancy,
Abandoned all the shoddy rout of Jove
For Academia’s groves and Helicon:
Bequeathed anon their philosophic lore
(And helped) set up a cross on Calvary’s hill:
Their pagan gods a legacy have left
And many down the years have felt their sway,
Placating gods of sense with sacrifice
Of all that makes them men. Thus late in time
A myriad myriad gods hold man in thrall,
Besiege the sacred portals of the heart,
Each man his god, till mystic Time shall cease
Or extirpate these poisoners of the soul;
And man shall know the truth and so be free.

March 1970



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