In the following piece entitled simply ‘Advent 2016’ local poet Bernard Davis eloquently sums up the mood of the nation and asks us to reflect with him about what happens next. After a year of contentious, foundation-shaking events does faith in God help steer our thoughts and behaviour towards outrage, activism, hope or generosity?
The present keeps colliding with the future.
We are the flies too near the windscreen.
We need to create some distance before
our heads explode. This year choreographed by
Heironymus Bosch. This garden of earthly disasters.
We need the perspective he refused,
to break through the canvas of his eternal present,
back into our fractured reality to reset time.
To still the compass he used as a spinning toy,
and if we are to take our bearings,
locate some ground, some rock, that
hasn’t been hollowed into echo chambers,
where each group who know they are right,
sooth themselves with the returning sound
of their own voices. Mutually Assured Stupidity.
With these lullabies in our ears, it’s no surprise
the crib no longer comforts, the holy family
cling to wreckage in the Aegean sea,
Herod stalks the streets of Syria and North Iraq,
everywhere Rachael, inconsolable,
weeps for her children. The only sane voice
is a madman crying in the desert.
Make a straight path, fill in the bomb craters,
tear down the barricades, let through the ambulances,
treat the injured, feed the starving
emerging from their basement prisons.
We have to start making a way out of here.
Out of here? First of all we have to find
out where we are. The frontlines, the signposts,
the borders, every line we drew, obliterated.