IF A CRITIC CAME FROM OUTER SPACE

If a critic came from outer space,

With criticisms of the human race,

Criticisms listing vanity or helplessness or sin,

Would be attentively heard—but criticism from within,

Would not be heard—the human race would not be free

To listen—they would nail the critic to a tree.

With rage against the critic spent,

The rage itself would not relent,

But live in the symbol of the tree:

“Do not dare to criticize me.

My only king is gravity.”

Gravity has no voice. Gravity has no face.

Newton’s gravity, invisible, odd,

Suffocates the scientist who dares believe in outer space,

Who dares believe in God.

.

 

8 Comments

  1. February 17, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    Suppose

    Suppose there’s God, but what is God,
    Who creates the fragrant rose?
    The very meaning of the word itself
    means that which no man knows.

    And if there’s God, why would this God,
    Who has every forest grown,
    plant seeds of living just to give
    the reaper what He’s sown?

    We can’t see God, can’t speak with God,
    so what man can really say?
    Perhaps all are wrong or, perhaps,
    God provides us each a way.

    Each person has a different view,
    we carry many different loads,
    so maybe God leads all of us,
    just on many different roads.

    Gary B. Fitzgerald

  2. David Bittner said,

    February 18, 2018 at 4:57 am

    I think Gary has made a good point concerning God and religion that has struck me, too—It’s not possible that all religions could be right, but it is possible that they could all be wrong. Try asking some Bible-thumper this: if he or she can believe in some of the great, miraculous events related in both Old and New Testaments, then how can they blame a Muslim for believing that Mohammed ascended to heaven on a winged horse? Or that at the time of the Crucifixion, Jesus was miraculously removed from the cross and Judas was put up in his place and he was the one who got crucified that day (another belief of Islam).

    But I believe a lot of the Bible heroes and heroines (and villains and villainesses by the negative examples they set) may be salvageable as archetypes that can guide us to good behavior.

    Gary believes that God “leads all of us, just on many different roads”? I think maybe what makes some people skeptical of this view is the old-fashioned anthropomorphic God they mostly outgrew as young adults,, but which still intrudes in their thoughts about the matter later in life.

    But if they can learn to think of God as a mysterious force, without man-like attributes, maybe then they can graduate to a view of “Let go and let God.”

    The author Edna Ferber in her 1939 autobiography, “A Peculiar Treasure,” stated in an early chapter, “Right here I might as well break down and confess that even at that early day in my life, I had rejected the belief of a God as portrayed in conventional terms of worship. I did not then and I do not now accept this God.” Yet in the closing paragraphs of her book she thanks God for the good life she has led. “A lovely life I have found it, and thank you, Sir.” It is ironic that in rejecting God as portrayed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel—that is, as a white-haired little man flapping his wings up there—she was actually embracing her ancestral faith’s teaching—ridiculed in the ancient world—that God was invisible!

    I know that in my collection of articles I have a copy of an interview I did in the mid-90s with the author of a “futuristic romance.” I will find it tomorrow and see if there is anything in it that might be pertinent.

    P.S. In the above I saw a few opportunities for rhyming. But I knew that with my declining ability, I could never do the whole thing in rhyme, the way Tom, or Gary, or Nooch could. I just concentrated on getting it all down in plain English. Good night, all. David Bittner

  3. February 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Mockingbird

    I see God’s hand in amber clouds
    with golden rays above blue seas,
    in black stripes on orange fur.
    I see His plan in flowering trees,
    in mockingbirds and honey bees,
    in every desperate cur.

    Call me crazy . . . well, they do,
    but I see His thoughts in cobras, too.
    I see His will in crocodiles.
    They see God in human beings
    and Satan in the wild,
    but I see the Devil in you and me
    and in every human child.
    The roots of Poison Ivy
    always grow new vines.

    I see that mockingbird on the fence over there
    just winked his eye at me.

    Gary B. Fitzgerald
    from Softwood: Seventy-eight Poems 2008

    • Desdi said,

      February 19, 2018 at 4:19 am

      I love this poem Gary !

      It is poetically & doctrinally profound.

  4. David Bittner said,

    February 19, 2018 at 2:30 am

    Gary, I couldn’t find my “futuristic romance” review. But no matter. I just wanted to quote from my lede, in which I described a New Yorker cartoon, by a Whitney A. Darrow, which I think is pertinent to the subject of “critics from outer space.” The cartoon shows several spacemen from Earth, who have landed on a distant planet just in time to witness a young woman with antennae just about to offer a young man with antennae a fruit that she is just about to pick from a tree. “Miss! Oh, Miss!” cries one of the astronauts. “For God’s sake, stop!” Good night! D.B.

    • February 19, 2018 at 2:47 am

      Ha! Good one. However, the book of Genesis (assuming it’s a metaphor) may not be that far off the mark. Knowledge in the hands of humanity has yielded some terrible things: machine guns, jet fighters, nuclear bombs.
      In addition, a review of American politics these days might actually lead one to the conclusion that snakes really do talk. 😁

  5. February 19, 2018 at 3:19 am

    Since religion appears to be the theme here, here’s another one.

    Bewildered

    How reconcile this paradox,
    this Creator who loves creation,
    with the brutality and blood
    that makes it turn,
    the endless flow of life
    forms granted their existence
    by the eating of each other,
    the bewildered starving young
    still awaiting their dead mother?

    How resolve this lack of compassion,
    this cruelly designed summation,
    by the One who loves us all,
    those lost to fire and fang and flood
    or blown from nests in storms?

    We will reason, for we are human,
    and create our fine religion,
    which our reason then deforms.

    Gary B. Fitzgerald
    from HARDWOOD: 77 Poems 2008


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