They look up to you,
Eyes brightly blinking,
Feathers ruffled and wings flapping,
Their little minds flitting-
A moment there, and a moment gone.
Small, darting, a blink of thought,
A twitch of sight, attention brought,
They’re not bright,
Incapable of flight –
Yet adoring all the same.
How eagerly from your hand they’ll eat,
Content to have the crumb of crust,
Overjoyed at a spatter of meal,
They hop over your toes,
About your legs circling and squawking.
What love and affection,
How simple and untroubled –
No creased forehead,
No mistrusting glares,
But the soft, tone-deaf cluck
A not particularly good poem I feel as though I practically vomited up. I couldn’t help it really.
I was just out feeding my chickens, and I suppose it’s a commonplace enough sight – but there’s something charmingly simple in the way they swarm over you, squawking and clucking and milling around your feet, staring up at your hand as they wait for grain to fall from your fingers with an eagerness comparable even to a Labrador. Sure, a cynic will be quick to point out, “They only love you for the food you give – you’re just a walking meal.”
True enough, but are we any better? How well can we trust the affection of those around us? Any cynic can, with sufficiently logical-sounding arguments, disassemble the whole of human relations into a series of trust-based transactions built on the necessity of cooperation for survival. In many ways your garden-variety corporation differs little from a flock of animals – to the cynic, both are merely a band of individuals who shelter together for their own individual well-being. If things get tough for other members, the only justification to helping them out is that it must benefit the self in some way. This is the extent of flesh relations, what the flesh and cerebellum alone can rationalize.
We are not good to one another because we are all human. If humanity were all we had to rely on – I can only point to the decadence of Rome, the savagery of Gaul, the depravity of the Levant, the myopic slave-mongering of the West African kingdoms, the bureaucratic tyranny of Imperial China, the callous culling present throughout every epoch of the Russian civilization, our own American history with slavery – and while some might cry that Man has often justified his actions with God’s own Book, allow me to highlight the operative clause:
Man has justified his actions.
It is when Man desires to justify himself that he leads himself into error, and abandons himself to his evil as thoroughly as the ignorant pagan.
This essay must be continued another time, sadly. But allow me to end on a message of hope, not despair.
Though Man is adrift in a sea of our own wretchedness, evil from head to toe, whether it be our hands or our muttering hearts which drip with blood, we have a savior. We have One who is better than us, One who, though receiving only hatred and contempt from His people, chose to love us past the point of death. He asks little of us, compared to what He has already given us in our lives here on Earth, even before we believe on His name. He loves us with a courage and a compassion palely reflected in the broken body of the mother who shields her child from bullets with her body; in the beating heart of the volunteer who for his small republic goes to battle against the pitiless foe, though he knows he will not return home; in the eyes of the king who wields the power to take life and liberty – and seeing a guilty man before him, broken and pleading for his life even as he admits his wretchedness – spares his life.
From God comes a love that neither you nor I will experience whilst trapped in our flesh. Only when freed by the Spirit will we taste of it, and only in the final sanctification within the halls of the New Jerusalem will we truly feast.
So, do not treat your fellows cynically. Do not mistrust their love or suspect them of manipulation. That is not for you to know. But merely imitate Your Lord, and love them ever more, and love Your Lord even moreso, with all your heart, body and soul. Upon these commands is founded the whole of His Law.