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The Cross

The Cross

It does no-one harm to get down on their knees
To reflect on this week's life, with humility.

Yet I would not do so before an image of a gallows
Nor would an iron maiden better suit my meditations
and combining an instrument of death,
with an instrument of torture,
in the form of a cross,
Is a ghastly symbol
to worship before.
Give me a view,
any natural view
will do.

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Last few words: 
Inspired by Sir Terry Pratchett, a humanist, and my father, a christian.
Editing stage: 

Comments

seems to me they mostly involve a slow, agonising death.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

will check out "crucifixion" now.

I am having second and third thoughts about this poem and considering a re-write attempting to bring more respect and humanity to it.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

maybe I should follow up that last line with something pretty.

Yes, I saw Sir Terry speak at the Sydney Opera House last Sunday, amazingly intelligent, witty and human man. His condition is not showing yet, he was totally lucid and coherent. He has however become an advocate of legalised assisted suicide, which I totally support. Since Altzeimers runs in my family I have made a life will with one of my sisters to help me end it if I lose my mind.

Incidentally he describes himself as a humanist rather than an atheist.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

each day and each lucid thought is a gift as I see my mother and one of my sisters seem to sink almost daily further into a living delirium and lose more of their precious independance and dignity.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

will check out esker's

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

This reminds me of the the tale of Prometheus (as well as Christ as you've mentioned), the tone in it for some reason really connotates with Prometheus for me though, I think this may be the sombre and slightly regretful tone of the poem, whereas to me the Bible and seems very judgmental and self-rightous. You've avoided that and the cross in this poem has good connotations for me (Prometheus) rather than negative ones.

The symbol of the cross and crucifixion is very powerful, I don't see this symbolism used much in poetry and I think it's because people get intimidated by it. You've used it perfectly and sincerely, the power resonates and enforces the emotion of the poem without being clichéd or overpowering the piece itself.

I think the form is perfect and the poem works as a whole very well, but when I read it I still get this sense of massive potential for it to go further, but I know it can't be any longer because this poems works so well because it's concise. I think I read this and imagine more potential, yet it's perfectness as it is, from a Romantic stand point, that idea of limitless potential (without the fragment structure). I think this is a really powerful emotion/sense to have in a work of this time, it captures that sense of the divine and transcendence embodied by the symbolism of the cross and crucifixion.

This is a really well constructed poem and is one I could come back and read multiple times over the years and still get the same powerful effect from it.

Sorry for my lack of adjectives ( I've been thinking and writing in Japanese for uni and they don't have many adjectives, need to get my English vocabulary back!). I hope this critique helps somehow, although I don't see how you could change or alter this work without it losing it's sincerity.

This is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem.

PS. Terry Pratchett was in Sydney not too long ago, did you get to see him?

You would be a real asset in our upcoming Critiquing Workshop, I hope you can find the time for it.

Yes, I went and saw Sir Terry (see my reply to Ian, above), in the same place as Amanda Fucking Palmer played, it's been a good venue for me this year!
My favourite quote from his talk was when his "reader" described their Australian tour as "awesome", Terry interrupted--
"If god and his angels came down to earth and manifested, that would be awesome, everything else is just cool"

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

It would appear we're more alike than we thought. I am a christian who also believes that most churches are either social clubs or indoctrination centers. I take my religion straight and unfiltered by someone else's ideas of what is right and wrong. As to the poem itself, I think the last line could be written a bit better ...............stan

I'm pondering on it.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

Well even though I am on vacation when I saw you had written of course I had to come take a look. The last line could be more of a slap in the face but then the entire poem kind of slaps you anyway. I find your take on it is kind of like mine . I don't have a suggestion for the ending because I believe you will know yourself what it is when it hits you.

Chez
"The perfect woman perpetrates literature as she does a small sin: as an experiment, in passing, to see if anybody notices it - and to makes sure that somebody does." - Nietzsche

howzzat?

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

to the question... But, first let me qualify: I am not an advocate, nor do I practice any particular religion. I have my own thoughts about living and what I think is right. That is neither here nor there. The answer to the question is; That the people who believe in Christianity, use the cross as a reminder of the love that Jesus had for the world. That he would give his life, in the most horrifiying way, to save their souls.
That is the answer to your question. I too would much prefer a gentler, more peaceful scene. ~ Gee

Please acknowledge critique and comments.
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Critique or comment today!

It was a criticism of the very concept of sacrifice for redemption.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

The cross, it is only a symbol and not meant to be anything else, but a cross can mean so much, a cross roads, where the two opposing lines meet creating a central common ground, a failed problem solving at school when they wrote a big red cross on our sums instead of an R(right). We choose a symbol for things and there are so many things this exact cross can stand for.

But worshipping a cross symbol, well that's a personal thing that each human decides for himself according to his beliefs; personally I have no beliefs that tally with any religions, but many do and from them glean solace from fear and dread, pain and suffering, and if that's what the symbol of a cross does then I'm all for it, suffering is the worst 'offence' against health and happiness, joyful life, and well being, each to his own manner of tackling it I say.

Its strength of meaning in our time has rescued people from killing themselves, when they would really prefer to live; those who wish only to die, I am not going to start a debate on that, but its their decision and theirs alone that is the right one for them.

The emotion the symbol of a cross arouses is not all blind devotion, it awakes the grand and great in our thoughts when we are dependent on it, and these thoughts are parallel with the intoxication of poetry, when we feel it at its strongest and this creates great art and great poetry...sadly, great discrimination and violent wars and terror, but that's only human, no?

Only Ann's view, Jess, with love to all those who suffer however they are afflicted.

"The image of yourself which you see in a mirror Is dead,
but the reflection of the moon on water, lives." Kenzan.

something is just a symbol.

And the Christian cross is a symbol of the crucifiction, there is no sweet-talking it.

Glad it prompted you to these thoughts and I don't begrudge people finding comfort in the religion delusion, but I don't respect it.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

and see the changes I made?

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

and thank you for them. I do take all suggestions seriously. Have I ever ignored yours? I don't think so.

In the first line I wish to stress no-one
week's is correct, I'll change it.
a gallows is correct, even though it is spelled as a plural.
I kinda of like the repetition of instrument, it focuses the purpose, where apparatus is less weighted.
All Christians would deny worshipping the cross, they worship before it. Yes, a technicality I know, but my intent was not to be incorrect or gratuitously provocative.
don't you think the repetition of view, combined with do rhyme strengthens the ending?
Thanks again for your close reading and suggestions.

I think the purpose of my write is pretty clear- I find Christian imagery and symbolism offense. It goes deeper than that too. The very idea of sacrifice for absolution is barbaric.

Oh, and dear Rosina, I am writing in "The Cross" about what I know. My atheism is a highly informed choice. I have been a Christian and have read deeply into all the major religions, even studied Comparative Theology.

I am sorry if my poem hurt your feelings, but at least it means it had an impact, and clearly provoked a strong response. Have you clicked on Revisions and seen how I have edited it to make it less "in your face" offensive?

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

I saw your comment on Loved's blog "You can always do better with a little help from friends, but dictators are not the answer. We help each other as friends, not competitors darlin’." just before I came here.

No-one is trying to dictate how to critique or be competitive about it. The workshops are only to give help for those who lack confidence or support for those who wish to go further. Do you think it is a co-incidence that all 3 of the new workshops are about critique? Critique is the lifeblood of Neopoet, without it we a just a stagnating mutual admiration society. I refer you to the Neopoet guidelines-
"Critique, don't comment. Neopoet is a workshop environment."
http://new.neopoet.com/community-guidelines

The three levels of workshop are in no way meant to split Neopoet, they are not separate Streams, they are finite duration workshops and the different levels are to help people find the level of learning they need. They are completely optional.

I totally agree with you about critique on spelling, punctuation and grammar, they are crucial and should never be ignored. If I have failed to respond to your suggestions in the past I apologise, even if they are wrong they need to be acknowledged. Giving critique takes courage and generosity and should always be appreciated.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

It was meant to point out something I find anathemaic and disturbing about Christian symbolism, but not ridicule, it is a serious poem including the value of meditative spirituality.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

I have no faith in faith and no need of it.

Hmmm, I may need to re-write the lines you quoted at me because I meant a physical view of nature, not a viewpoint.

I guess it is inevitable that people of faith will find a viewpoint that denies it disturbing at best, mocking at worst. I have found the strength to survive my past (like you I am a survivor of abuse) and what often strikes me as a world plummeting towards ruin, without the need of faith. I need no promise of immortality of the soul or even by reproduction. I do like the idea of "spreading my memes, not my genes" but even that is not essential, as my poetry and influence on others will be gone in all too few years too.

What can I say? " you live, you die, and that’s it!" but there's nothing wrong with that. Perhaps it is the peace that comes of surrending to the inevitable. No doubt in therapy and recovery you have encountered the conceptual values of "surrender".

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

I had done a lot of research on weather it was a cross or not,
Guess what, It was not a cross, because at the time in that area of the middle east there was not enough trees. they hung him with rope by the arms on a simple piece of lumber like they did all other criminals. they would not waste nails, they needed the metals for their war machine. The Romans were not going to waste lumber that they didn't have, or give this death any special attention, to them he was just another Jew.
The idea of the cross came almost 200 yrs later if I remember correctly.
I am in agreement with you. I do not pray to things created by man. I pray to things create by the living earth and universe. I'm not at all sure that there is a "God" per-say

For me this is one of your best writes, the structure is beautiful for this thought.
Excellent work my friend.

Eddie C.

LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS
IT'S ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN.
VIVIAN GREENE

I appreciate the appreciation [grins]

Yes, I was aware that it was not, historically a cross, but are the Christians going to change 2000 years of art and graven images? I think not.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

I was sure you knew, but for the benefit of those that follow and don't know this truth, I mention it. I believe, if you believe something it's because you have researched and found the truth of it and can explain it to some one else. The Jehovah Wiotnesses are a pain, but they do study the bible to it's core, so for that only I respect them. You can have an intellectual conversation with them on the bible stories. That said, most Christian have no idea what the bible says. I'm not putting them down I understand it's years of domesdication. I know because I was one , until I started to question and do research.
So good for you for writing such a piece that touches upon what I believe from fact. But as they say, "each to their own"
That"s just me voicing what I know.
Eddie C.

LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS
IT'S ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN.
VIVIAN GREENE

Are you well versed in the bible?

Eddie C.

LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS
IT'S ABOUT LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN.
VIVIAN GREENE

oh, of course, the double meaning, yes I meant that... um... which double meaning was that? [grins]

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

I'm deeper than I thunk.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

although I did want to include in this poem a nod to the value ofmeditation.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

excellent write with powerful commentary

i have always hated the idea of praying to a cross - a cucifix even more so
and yes i agree - 'the wide open spaces built by the hand of the lord,' as the song goes, is the place i worship.....

- not sure where the 'iron maiden' fits though.
love judy

'Each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
shall draw the Thing as he sees It, for the God of Things as They are.'
(Rudyard Kipling)

as a symbol of an instrument of torture, as the cross is both- an instrument of execution and torture. What else? Waterboards are not very visual, nor tongs or hot irons.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

I was quite surprised to find how many Christians share my aversion to that symbol.

Good to see you again too, we all need to step back and take a look at things at times.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

Too tired to read through this all, Jess.... but a friend and I posited some years ago that we might be wearing little electric chairs around our necks under different times.

That sort of brings home the ridiculousness. However, as Barry says, it's a symbol of Transcendence, albeit a gruesome one. Thank God the Romans didn't burn people in oil. I wonder if and when we'll ever grow out of our fixations with someone *up there* to fix the problems we create.

~A

I am going to get a tiny electric chair, or something more recognisable, parhaps a gallows, made, and wear it. Just to be an utter bastard.

And to remind people to stop looking "up there" to fix their problems.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

However, there is an *up there*, so to speak, it's the field Rumi wrote & spoke about:

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense."

~A

and at those around them before looking anywhere else for solutions.

It's mostly the "comfort" faith that bothers me, which is odd because I am basicly compassionate.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

author comment

Not so odd, Jess. I am compassionate without needing a blankie or a wet nurse. However,
I do say OMG often enough with Barry around. Shhh. Just don't tell him I said so. ;-)

We had a huge argument this morning. He can be so stubborn about his beliefs...unlike me.
ROFL.

Can you imagine a Christian who believes in the Bible and a recovering nondualist/gnostic atheist, living in the same house? Lots of fireworks.

~A

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