‘Twas a triviality that drove her mother,
A woman of superb breeding and culture,
To grasp feces and anoint her little face,
Consecrating her own child in a foul place.
Then she fed her well on feces fine,
While God watched from glory’s heights divine,
And her earthly father proved of meager help,
Only aiding to batter his little whelp.
Caring nothing for the tears she shed,
Her parents condemned their child to bed,
So in the privy they locked her tight,
And gave her to darkness for the night.
Though not yet even six years old,
Her blood and tears froze in the cold,
While her mother slumbered to the dulcet tones
Of the lullaby formed by her daughter’s groans.
She beat her chest with a small fist,
Her tears sanguine, her cheek unkissed,
Yet her heart was meek and she felt no ire,
Toward the God who could have called down fire.
“Dear, kind God, do protect me please!”
Is he not the God who always sees?
And from his throne in heaven above –
God did not.
Is he colder than the frost that bites?
Unfeeling to her wretched state?
Or is he hot, the father of blights?
Laughing at her pitiful fate?
What could be worth that “Dear, kind God”?
What could be worth that desperate prayer?
Said to one to whom we give laud,
Who showed that child not a hint of care?
What do the great heights of heaven above
Have to do with that revolting latrine?
For if God lives, full of power and love,
Its cruelty was not unforeseen.
Yet there still lurks a sinister attraction,
Where at the base of all things there shines no reason,
Where there is no God making a transaction,
Where no life of light follows the bitter season.
Where her sorrow has not one point at all,
Where nothing could be worth her unheard prayer,
Where nothing defeats humanity’s fall,
Where no God lives to rescue or to care.
Where it will be worth nothing at the bitter end,
And where she will find no purpose in her pain,
For no one will ever to heaven’s heights ascend,
And nothing will blot out evil’s bloody reign.
For when she prayed to dear, kind God,
“Oh, dear, kind God, protect me please!”
That child prayed to an absent fraud,
To a deaf tale who never sees.
Or, before we judge God to be dead or cruel,
Perhaps we ought to hazard becoming a fool,
And ask ourselves what the Creator’s unfathomable mind
Might have felt toward us, our earth’s unhappy humankind?
From the foundation of the world he knew her face;
He knew his daughter would suffer in that vile place.
Yet from the foundation of the world he chose her to live,
And in his loyal love knew all to his child he would give.
He saw her joy at stepping into the dazzling earth –
The one in glory remade, not the cracked one of her birth –
How her dear hands reached up for his embrace,
How she longed to glimpse, and then kissed, his face.
Through the arc of time he would make her future,
For her, through his own hands spikes would puncture.
A bloody tree would steal his blessed breath,
That he might free her from the curse of death.
A vast array of humankind he would make and save,
Each to become an heir of heaven, and not a slave,
That in his courts they might rule endless days
And forever partake in glory’s praise.
Yet across their world lay sorrow and woe,
Not only his blood but theirs would flow,
A mass of callous faces and shattered lives,
Marked by peals of anger and flashing knives.
Each world without suffering was a world without them,
For always amid fire and filth came each human gem,
To prevent those parents would be to prevent that child,
Each came from an origin essentially defiled.
Their world’s timeline lay like a field of grain,
Riddled with choking weeds and the Devil’s dark reign,
Yet to pluck the tares would be to uproot the wheat,
Both must grow until the harvest would at last complete.
So his love sparked his patience, and his love kindled his rage,
And he wept and fumed at their cruelty from age to age,
For as God remained the same, so did humankind,
And their evil tested his patience and his mind.
Oh, how he longed to scoop up that tiny believer!
To free her from the schemes of the wicked deceiver!
His heart groaned at the sight of her sorrow and pain,
And roared at the sight of her parents’ vile disdain.
Oh, true, he would take no pleasure in their death,
No pleasure in snatching back his gift of breath,
For he loved them too, and offered them life,
But they embraced not him but hardened strife.
Yet for mercy he had taken a servant’s form,
So that at the end his children he could transform,
That not all would receive their sin’s costly wage
And drink the foaming wine of his righteous rage.
But rage he would, and he would pay all back,
And they would shudder at his gavel’s crack,
Cower and hide themselves among the rocks,
For who can stand when the judge of all knocks?
Yet if he acted early with justice’s fist,
Then many heirs would never come to exist,
And yet his policy to let evil for a time be,
Led to the tragedy of the child praying in the privy.
Oh, how he yearned to wreak his holy wrath,
And destroy all iniquity in his path!
Yet each beloved always depended on a tainted beginning,
Much as a symphony can only be born through a horrid dinning!
Though the earth suffered as if one great bruise,
To the broken-hearted would come Good News.
And though between them stood sin’s black wall,
That wall of death God knew soon would fall.
And when it fell, never again would they part,
God and his daughter would dwell heart to heart,
That child of faith secure, rescued, and redeemed,
God dearer, kinder than he had ever seemed.
Oh, the cruelty she suffered brimmed with evil –
That did not change in God’s cosmic upheaval –
Yet the weight of glorious love overwhelmed her horrendous past,
For all eternity dear, kind God kept her safe and warm at last.
Inspired by the chapter “Rebellion” in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.