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

Speaking in Chicago to a gathering of U.S. priests, Archbishop Wilton Gregory addressed racism, sexism and a host of other societal challenges that "continue to hold us captive."
Is the treatment being offered to Alfie Evans, a toddler suffering from a so-far-undiagnosed neurological disorder, moral, immoral or even medically inappropriate?
Kevin ClarkeApril 26, 2018
Young protesters call for an immigration bill to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program at a rally in 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)
Archbishop Gomez called the USA Act a “good-faith compromise.”
J.D. Long-GarcíaApril 25, 2018
(iStock/itsmejust)
A new Pew Research Center poll finds that 87 percent of U.S. Catholics believe God is "all-loving," but only 67 percent say God is "all-powerful."