FINDING A DEAD DOG IN THE WOODS I THINK OF CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA

mystery82

 

I stop to look at a dog someone has carried into the woods

and dumped.

White maggots eating with their heads down

like evangelists at a banquet.

Two rows of teeth bright as altar candles.

The skull of it shining like the dome of a church.

.

.

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2 thoughts on “FINDING A DEAD DOG IN THE WOODS I THINK OF CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA

  1. Thank you for enjoying the poem. Don’t know if I meant it to be humorous or not. I wrote it when I was around 30, I think. It is based on an experience I had when I was 8 or 9 years old. My family lived in Crockett, Texas, a place where Davy Crockett stopped on his way to The Alamo. Our house backed up on a cotton field, beyond which was a corn field, beyond which was a stand of oaks dividing that field from a swampy pasture with a grove of oaks and willows around small pond in its center. This pond was a sacred place for me, a place of awe and fear. To reach the pond I had to pass through these distinctly different environments. Each one had its gift and each one was a little scary. I felt an invitation from the land itself but knew I was trespassing.

    One time I went there and saw from a distance a white dog lying on his side by the water. He looked dead to me. A lot of fur had been sloughed off around the body, and the carcass itself was already being taken into the ground. But as I walked closer, I began to see movement along the ribcage and spine, as if the dog was still breathing, still trying to live, though the skull bone was exposed and the face was skeletal. Probably I said a prayer for the dog, thinking that God might resurrect him. But no. When I got right up close I could see that the movement was of maggots so thick on him, that the whole body was rocking with them.

    When I wrote this poem, I still believed in the power of religious institutions. I was through with Christianity but thought that Hinduism, or at least the Indian meditation and devotion based cults I drew inspiration from were vibrant. Now I see that the vibrancy belonged to the young people sincerely seeking in those channels. Every religion is a failure now, every spiritual cult, institution, organization is of very limited value to the seeker. It’s up to individuals to hear the knocking of the Divine and open up the door within ourselves.

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