True Believer

“What men truly want is peace,”
Says the last one true prophet.
Peace feels so like submission
Good prophets can fool most men.
For the rest, there’s the hammer,
Followed by a gentle tongue
 
To sweet-talk the wounds. A tongue
Works wonders keeping the peace,
But wonder-workers keep hammers
Handy. Ask any prophet
Who’s spent some time among men:
Supervising submission
 
Is no humble lamb’s mission.
You must learn to scold in tongues.
The cold acumen cold men
Make war with is of a piece
With the poet’s and prophet’s.
Sometimes words, sometimes hammers,
 
Sometimes words shaped like hammers
Bring about the submission
So cherished by all prophets,
Heart of gold or golden-tongued.
Submission has a certain poise,
A certain beauty. What men
 
Want is the same thing women
Want: That is, a sound hammer
Against the skull, and the peace
That sees stars. True submission
Begins in the throat, the tongue.
No God but this. No Prophet
 
But this. You see the prophet’s
Quite wise when it comes to men:
Simple thoughts in a simple tongue,
And, just in case, the hammer.
Some men call peace, submission.
Some men call submission, peace.
 
The prophet nods and strokes his piece.
His yes men are on a mission.
Stick out your tongue, says the hammer.
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

It is astonishing to think that God would choose to enter the world this way: as a fragile newborn who could not even hold up his own head without help.
Ginny Kubitz MoyerOctober 20, 2017
Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017
Forensic police work on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leads to Daphne Caruana Galizias house, looking for evidence on the blast that killed the journalist as she was leaving her home, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Caruana Galizia, a harsh critic of Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat, and who reported extensively on corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb on Monday. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)
Rarely does the death of a private citizen elicit a formal letter of condolence from the Pope.