A House United

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A castle which stands upon nothing at all
Seen by those walking quickly by
In a shadow of its great monstrance
They dare speak not ill, but fully serve
A meal given of our last substance
To the hungry birds, poor and ravenous
Men in lines and cues, black and white
Given without measure, Given without measure,
Men in lines and cues, black and white
To the hungry birds, poor and ravenous
A meal given of our last substance
They dare not speak ill, but fully serve
In a shadow of its great monstrance
Seen by those walking quickly by
A castle which stands upon nothing at all.

Image credit: Justin Brown (flickr).
Cross-posted at A Spy In The House of God.

NOTES

This poem is engineered so that the reversal of the lines alters preserves the ability to reasonably parse the poem, but alters (nearly reverses) the meaning. This poem is a tribute to Robinson Jeffers. Monstrance is a technical term which generally refers to the place where the host (the body of Christ from bread manifested) is kept. It is used metaphorically here, though the idea of a Monstrance in a Cathedral is apt – speaking formally of The Progressive Cathedral itself.

“A castle which stands upon nothing at all” – this could mean a ‘castle in the sky’ (a dream which cannot be built in reality) but is also a reference to Lincoln’s quoted line, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”

“Seen by those quickly walking by” – tourists, but also those fleeing from the scene of something terrible.

“In a shadow of its great monstrance” – On the one hand, implying those walking past the shadow of the Lincoln memorial (originally posted with a picture of it, this picture is not mine, so it may not persist.) but also those serving in its shadow as thralls. The term ‘thrall’ is our old term for slave, but it echoes with ‘enthrall’ which rather than meaning ‘enslave’ generally implies ‘to captivate or hold spellbound’ – metaphorical enslavement.

“They dare not speak ill, but fully serve” – hate speech, and the eventual enthrallment of America to its shadow, a pathological altruism of war and aid.

“A meal given of our last substance” – a direct reference to the destruction of the economy through regulatory capture and mismanagement by means of government assistance.

“To the hungry birds, poor and ravenous” – the hungry birds are immigrants, at first warriors and entrepreneurs fleeing the old world and fighting to conquer the new, then commoners, economic expatriates, then migrant workers, then hordes of illegally imported thralls and criminals. In the second part the birds are literal, evoking the scene in which the vultures make food of many dead bodies, such as might be seen in the War Between the States.

“Men in lines and cues, black and white” – bread lines, immigration lines, lines at government offices, but also soldiers fighting for both sides in the War Between the States.

“Given without measure, Given without measure,” – the pathological opposite of God’s liberality; of nature’s liberality, of the virtue of generosity. The man who, in Nathaniel’s parable, gave his neighbor’s lamb to feed someone rather than his own (this is how our political class has fashioned for themselves to pay for the ‘meal given of our last substance’.)

The complete image is the transformation of charity into cannibalism. Such is how our own ‘house’ ceased to be divided against itself; becoming of ‘one flesh’ by consumption. The reddish sunset imagery and the placing of the monument visually juxtaposed over water (instead of land) hopefully bring home the point.

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