Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Miracle Waters?

This verse is inspired by Emile Zola's 1890 novel, Lourdes, but still 

seems cogent for our time.


On the road to Lourdes

The passengers who ride the desperation train

Seek healing waters in the cave at Lourdes.

They travel thinking it is not in vain:

Was not the fount put there by God

To give relieving cure of painful ills

Assuaging fears and easing sores away--

A remedy for ineffective pills?

Thus the faithful seeking cures did pray!


A cathedral rides upon the hill above

The cave that to the faithful offers cures,

Who there as hopeful pilgrims come in droves,

Buying idols, trinkets, and of miracles assured.

While after hawking baubles all day long

And oe'r the fount, inside a grand aerie,

The clergy dine in style above the throng.

O, is that e'er how power doth betray?


It isn't just the Church that lives this way

By making vows to bleed the trusting crowd:

The politicians use this ploy to tax our pay

For feathered nests of empty promised vows;

They tell voters if elected they'll serve them

But once in office dine and wine in style

Their sinecures as glitt'ry as fine gems

As thus their greed they service all the while


The lesson for those who in  need of aid

Is that the con-man hovers like a hawk

Looking for a sucker's purse to raid

In silence, or with laws, they seek their mark.

But are the 'holy' sites a different ilk--

Of truth well-proved or at least true believed,

Or but another way the pilgrim's purse to pick

And of their wealth to sorely be relieved?


So: could a 'Lourdes' be of a proper kind--

Of more than just the clerics' means of gain

That doesn't prey on people sore of mind

But finds a way to salve their inner pain?

Instead of tacky tourist souvenirs

Can honest help be offered those in need

By means that help abate their blank-eyed fears

And truly be of kind and selfless deed?


If thus, the road to Lourdes would be well-paved

By softly easing anguished inner pains

And lives still here on earth that can be saved

Thus truly taking care of healing aims,

A living Lourdes that lessens illness' toll

Instead of just a gawking tourist's cave:

Ah, making that would be a worthy goal

If the aim were needy souls to save!

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