I pity my compadre

Don’t strike the snake

I thought as I struck

at the root of my sin.

Fear not but pity

weighed my spade as I cut

earth with my thought.

For the serpent, too, a creature is –

rise thus he must –

and the first to fall waits longest of all.

Yes, by God he’ll rise. I say it is just.

For what better blow

to the little man’s pride

than to give what he hates

and wants all along?

Mercy was a schoolyard word

Mercy was a schoolyard word,

the key unlocking the grip of the bully,

something I saw often enough

but normally (neatly, nimbly)

dodged myself. God did thus

himself a disservice, putting

his good word first in the

mouth of the enemy who demanded it –

of his victim no less.

And this was part of a larger pattern,

I saw, God betting on the wrong horse,

dumping his treasures in the mud,

thinking all-screwed-up might make

the good, the true and the beautiful

self-evident.

Oh I’ll admit:

I never see the truth better

than when I’m wrong

or love purity more

than when I’ve sinned.

So maybe this is just the way.

But why?

Why must dark

dress up our day?