Posted by: John Looker | 7 February, 2016

Committee Room Seven, Heaven

 

Present were: Copernicus, Curie, Darwin, Einstein …
… the Archangel Gabriel in the chair. 

Reporting on progress on Item Nine
(A New Revolution In Human Understanding)
the Chair said there had been none.

He acknowledged evidence of major regression
to primitive theologies in recent times (which broke 
his heart) but this, he remarked, had been foreseen
in the original scheme of creation.

He invited the meeting to consider the annex
bearing the title Hope.

.
© John Looker 2016

 

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Responses

  1. Artfully done John. A metaphorical conclave of some of the greatest minds and purity of spiritualism wrapped in a hospital blanket of transcendentalism. Such is the frailty of humankind’s ignorance.

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  2. excellent and fascinating.
    in the vein of the Screwtape Letters.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh no, John! I thought we would be done with committee meetings in heaven! 🙂

    Nevertheless I enjoyed reading, re-reading, and thinking on this one. It’s a very imaginative way of saying what I think you might be saying…

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    • But as a retired bureaucrat, Cynthia, I love committees: you meet such nice people, you’re in the warm and dry, and there are biscuits (or cookies). Heaven! 😄

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  4. The almost exquisite style deployed here with amazing confidence raises questions not addressed at the conference. John rarely cops to irony even though I suggest it as one of his resources. Perhaps this can be explained as the result of Prof. Dawkins’s example of sublime simplicity where angels not to mention apophatic theologians fear to tread.

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    • That’s kind of you Tom — thank you. You’ve set me wondering about those other questions, and I must look out for a copy of the full record of the meeting! 😊

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  5. I hope there is hope in the annex consideration, John. Given the electioneering in the U.S. at the moment, I wonder if the archangel and his human counterparts are able to get past the blustering clouds to see the shining of the mountains beneath. Meetings are necessary, of course, even though way too many of those attending despise them while going to them every scintilla of a chance they get. Those who despise them the most, of course, complain the most about a lack of communication in the organization. Maybe a meeting run by Archangel Gabriel with such luminaries has a bit more wisdom, however. I wish I knew. Maybe it would make the agenda more hopeful. Since Gabriel is specifically sent by God to give messages to certain people, are you the one to receive the meeting minutes?

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    • Not me, Tom, not me! But I believe ‘the annex bearing the title Hope’ is read more often than the dispiriting main report! And thank you, as always, for taking time to read and respond to my poems.

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  6. Wonderful, John. Shared on the Bennison Books FB page. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed this, too. I like how it ends with Hope. There is hope. Why Curie?

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  8. Marvelous poem. It made me smile and wince at the same time. Will we ever grow up into anyone’s image?

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  9. This is a curious poem. A distinguished sampling of the mighty dead are mentioned, only to have them remain silent. Only the Archangel Gabriel has anything to say and that seemly is bleak: there has been no progress in human understanding (at least no revolution). And the grey eminences all seem to be from the other side of the fence from where the Archangel grows his grass.
    This is a curious poem. If it is one. On the page it looks like a poem, those lines don’t go all the way across the page. But it’s called a report in the poem. (& vice versa? Can a report call itself a poem?) The lines aren’t rhythmically exciting but I’ve been reading Emily Dickinson—and who can compete with that? No metaphor, no alliteration, no big words. Just Gabe commenting on primitive theologies. We knew this was going to happen. Everybody can’t be reading Kierkegaard.
    David Wallace got into this kind of thing with ‘The Pale King’. How to write about people who aren’t tremendously ‘poetic’—or aren’t even slightly poetic. More: are dull and boring and proud of it.
    But wait…where does this meeting room take place? Seventh heaven? As the title would suggest. The Wikipedia helpfully tells me it’s the highest division in heaven for Muslims and Jews and to me it sort of suggests a life of Riley kind of place. Jim, don’t take this too seriously. Just gentle mocking of the state of the world’s theological thinking, but more is mocked here. Is heaven really run from a bureaucracy? What would Dante thing of that? And speaking of Dante, how come we haven’t improved on his portrait of heaven?
    This is a curious poem. It engenders all sorts of reflections without seemingly trying too hard. How we think of heaven, strangely enough, is a serious topic. Poetic even. Come to think of it the decline of religion mirrors the decline in poetic thinking. That meeting is in the annex on hope, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • By coincidence Jim I was reading Emily Dickinson only last night and an essay on her work by Paul Muldoon. He was especially interested in how her poems had been preserved in various versions and consequently in the question of which should be the one presented to readers. Then he widened this to explore the relationship between writer and reader, “one completing the other”. I’m deeply appreciative of your reading of my poem above. You’ve read things into it and taken things from it, and so enlarged it. Thank you. And I like the way your comments, like the poem, finish on that annex Hope. Final thought: Emily Dickinson is not for the faint hearted, is she?! Really one needs a doctor’s certificate before indulging at length! 😄

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  10. I’m guessing the Muldoon essay is from his Oxford lectures on Emily’s ‘I tried to think a lonelier thing’—if it isn’t let me know. I’d like to read it. On your final thought: no, Emily might best read while a little ill. Perhaps recovering from an illness. Or with something incurable (like Parkinson’s). She overflows with a strange sense of illness/ health. Which may be what you meant …

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    • You’re right about the lectures Jim. The whole book makes a very thoughtful read. And I see what you mean about Emily Dickinson and ill health – yes, that’s indeed what I had in mind. I think I see what you mean, but I wouldn’t presume to understand fully. Warmest wishes, John

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  11. I really like this. Fresh, original, funny. Reminds me of Twain.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mark Twain is surely immortal. Perhaps it was he who took the note of the meeting!

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