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Chapter 9: As a Child, Thou Shalt Speak Wisdom unto the Mighty (Honest Adolph Volume III)

Chapter 9: As a Child, Thou Shalt Speak Wisdom unto the Mighty (Honest Adolph Volume III)

A very sad and poignant chapter.

But not without hope.

Mourning, not without hope.

The poem from Kipling is real.

As for Saul’s poem, see this:

https://universalistfriends.org/weblog/what-is-the-lesser-good

Did you catch Saul’s other poem, at the end of Volume II?

The imam frowned as Jim gazed up at him innocently.

“We are busy now. We are praying.”

Jim stammered.

“Sir. Sir. Mr. Mr. Imam.”

The man’s face warmed a little, as he realized that gentle Jim meant no harm to them.

The climate for most religious minorities was a little too hot for comfort.

But the mosque gradually relaxed, as one. Only a couple of grimly frowning faces remained unconvinced.

“I had a dream.”

The imam stroked his beard gently.

“Dreams are very powerful things.”

Jim bowed his head. “I… I thought Mr. Mr. Feinstein. The dream.”

The imam sighed and gazed to the heavens.

“Perhaps this man you mention has gone to another place?”

“Dead. Dead.” Jim whimpered.

The imam gazed at Jim compassionately.

He reached into his pocket and took out a stone from Qarbala.

He loving placed it on Jim’s forehead. Jim stood silently; as he relaxed, the quivering stopped.

“This is a precious stone. From a holy land.”

Jim raised his hand, and pointed to the skies.

“Holy. Holy land. Like. Like. Skies. Like everywhere.”

The congregation were moved to tears.

***

Deborah sat and gazed at the curious photograph Saul had published with his poem. She placed her hand reverently on her breast, and tearfully interceded for this frail and fragile testament to the indomitability and eternal courage of the human spirit.

She solemnly, but tenderly, intoned the words.

***

The only true God is
The Lesser Good.
The only true God is
Whatever is not reducible
To these external
And to those heteronomous
Abstraction-mongerings

The nation
The race
The ethnicity
The culture
The planet
The species
The ecosphere
The universe

People are what count

If The Lesser Good
Means anything at all
It means precisely this.
‘The Divine’ is not found
Except in and with and among people
Which also means
Being amid one’s own self.
No God is more precious than the individual
No God is more precious than people
Not ‘The People’
Dare I state the blindingly obvious
But ‘people’
And I offer
Nothing in the service of The Greater Good
Nothing for the benefit of The Greater Good
But everything in the name of The Lesser Good
For no other name is given under heaven
Than the name of the individual
The name of the person
The holy fire of The Lesser Good
Let it burn me
And let me burn forever in the ecstasy of this whirling
My head is drunk
My soul intoxicated
My spirit reels with the giddy joy
Of an endless spiraling daybreak-wonder
I am the Lesser Good
I am the Lesser Good
Anyone is the Lesser Good
Anyone Good
Anyone is Good
We are Good
Good
Good

***

Otis Spengler waited until the last person had left the Church.

He could no longer stride, or swagger.

His old grace was gone.

The coughing racked his body.

Was it really AIDs then, by now?

Even it wasn’t, did he really have any time left anyway?

Otis staggered along the aisle, halting at almost every step.

The bastards wouldn’t get him this time.

On the threshold of the altar, he stumbled and fell.

He tried his best to kneel, his body racked with agony.

He moved his lips.

But the words wouldn’t come out.

And yet somehow, his prayer was heard.

One way or another.

***

If I were hanged on the highest hill

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

I know whose love would follow me still

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

I know whose tears would come down to me

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were damned of body and soul

I know whose prayers would make me whole,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

***

With the final words of Kipling’s poem, Otis breathed his final few agonizing, rackety breaths.

It was as though there was a morning.

Some were deep, far above.

Not above.

Not above, my love, oh not above

There ain’t no Heavenly City up above

Ain’t nothing round ’em stars, ain’t no angels up on Mars

Ain’t no Heaven but God’s people, and our love…

If there had been a single tear left to shed, he would have shed it.

After all these unbearable, agonizing eternities.

She still remembered him…

 

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