A Poem on Catholic Bishops Hailing the ‘President-Elect’ and Others by Julian Woodruff The Society November 30, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 21 Comments _ Our Bishops, on Nov. 4, 2020 Our bishops hail the president-elect.Do they suppose the election is decided?Or are they anxious that we all move onAnd welcome policies that won’t excludeThe illegal alien from such benefitsAs she may gain through legislative act? Our bishops seem oblivious to the factThat charges that a horde of hypocritesHave tampered with the vote in manner crudeAnd foisted on the voters such a conAs never could unquestioned be abided,But should by any legal means be checked. Our bishops, furthermore, fail to connectThe dots. The threat that truly is unitedTo Biden’s White House bid: a promised dawn Of stiff oppression, destined to intrude On freedom of religion and to blitzThe right to life, make sure it’s fairly sacked. Our bishops—can the lot of them be cracked?They might learn from a group of nuns that sitsIn concentrated prayer. Their attitude:May Mary, Mother of Mercy, take uponHerself the task of stopping this benightedAttack on freedom, heavy and direct. Our bishops, like these nuns, ought to reject All thought of Biden’s Catholic faith; dividedIs he from what it teaches: there’s no bondBetween the Church and him, for he is gluedTo global politics. He craves the glitzAnd gain that come from the convenient pact. Our bishops, sad to say, need to be smacked—In words, at least, their smugness smashed to bits.They should mimic those nuns: both pray and brood Over what threatens, and then meekly donNew vestments. If they do, they’ll have confided In Mary, like the nuns in that respect. Our bishops should know how’ve the nuns bedecked Our Lady such that she must be delighted—A necklace wrought of spiritual brawn: Fifty Magnificats they pray, renewedEach day. Not one among them quits,Not one this obligation would retract. Our bishops: know that these nuns yet exact More of themselves; their prayers ride chariots Fast-driven. Yes, you bishops, here is food For thought: three days a week they have withdrawnFrom food, save bread and water. Prayers requitedWhen strengthened thus: faith augurs their effect. X X Parley “Alarm!” the lookouts’ voices can be heard.Some danger is afoot, it seems. They’ve stirred.“Look there—the gate! Our foes have nearly reached it.Oh wait … it seems they have already breeched it.”“Oh dear! This is a troubling situation,Worthy of long and serious conversation.”“Perhaps if we prepared a few remarks,Our citizens would be aroused. Wild barksWill never do, but something to attestTo … Oh, the foes! We’re all under arrest!” X X Julian D. Woodruff was a teacher, orchestral musician, and librarian. He served for several years as librarian at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA. He now resides in the area of Rochester, NY, where he writes poetry and fiction, much of it for children. His work has appeared in Frostfire Worlds and on the websites of Carmina, Parody Poetry, and Reedsy. His GPS poem placed tenth in the last riddle contest of The Society of Classical Poets. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 21 Responses Julian D. Woodruff November 30, 2020 Please note: in “Bishops,” line 6, a virgule (signifying she or he), has been dropped from the 2nd word. Reply Mike Bryant November 30, 2020 Like this he/she, Julian? Reply Joseph S. Salemi November 30, 2020 The use of he/she, or a virgule, is silly. Just write the generic “he” as has always been done, and forget what some feminist crackpot may say. It’s time for us to stop paying attention to the linguistic-cultural niceties of the left. Jeff Kemper November 30, 2020 Dr. Salemi, it is with gratitude that I read your rant on “he or she,” and the myriad of its vile variations that the 20th lords have forced upon or once fair language. It has also been my rant for many years. I call it’s use “ugly English.” Julian D. Woodruff November 30, 2020 “S/he,” Mike. This is one recent invention with which I take no issue. “… her or him (as the case may be)” or other accommodations are beyond the pale, but this particular one is easy and convenient enough that … well, why not. When I found “she,” I had to clarify: why should I express concern with female illegal aliens only? Given the availability of the alternative I’ve used, I feel a slight discomfort that “he” would not necessarily refer only to males. Maybe my unorthodoxy here may beexcused by virtue of my over-zealousness on split infinitives and pronoun cases. Mike Bryant November 30, 2020 It seems that then you have a line that can’t be recited because of an unpronounceable word. I think with a bit of word smithing you could use “they.” Joseph S. Salemi November 30, 2020 Correct, Mike. All he has to do is pluralize to “aliens” in line 5, and use “they” in line 6. And he has perfect English without bowing to the bitchocracy. Julian D. Woodruff November 30, 2020 I concede the point–here. And the poem, with Mike’s correction, will so appear in the Collected Works of Julian D. Woodruff. While I’m here, let me preach to the choir for a moment and rage against the use of “they” and “them” as singular pronouns. C.B. Anderson November 30, 2020 You must have had a lot of fun, Julian, fulfilling your chosen (and very unusual) rhyme scheme in “Our Bishops”. Of course, with so many of these rhymes at some distance from one another, the writer has a lot of time to queue them up within the structure of a cogent narrative. I have occasionally done similar things, and, doing so, wondered whether the reader would connect in his mind what might not be felt in his mind’s ear. It took me only two stanzas to see what was going on. Forgive me if I have misread “Parley” by taking it as a frightening picture of our current political situation. Yes, the barbarians are at the gates, and worse, they are in our midst! Reply Julian D. Woodruff November 30, 2020 Thank you for your observations, C.B. I got through a thought in 6 lines without worrying about rhyme, and thought “what now?” The pattern of forwards-backwards (or zig-zag) occurred to me as a way to suggest the miter or the bishop’s diagonal of chess, and maybe the wishi-washiness of many pronouncements of the USCCB. I wrote “Parley” at about the same time, thinking of the ideological invasion of the Catholic Church (here, but also abroad, of course). Of course it very much applies to what’s going on socially and politically in the U.S. Reply Margaret Coats November 30, 2020 Our bishops–can the lot of them be sacked? Reply Joseph S. Salemi November 30, 2020 I only wish they could be, Margaret. The best we can do is publicly recognize that they are gutless timeservers who get vast sums of money from the U.S. government based on how many illegal aliens they can handle; and to refuse to put one goddamned dime in the collection plate when the USCCB’s annual appeal for donations is announced. The only thing these corrupt Novus Ordo “bishops” understand is cash. Don’t give them any. Reply Julian D. Woodruff November 30, 2020 Could Novus Ordo be translated [Great] Reset? Julian D. Woodruff November 30, 2020 Perhaps so, Mike. If it were read aloud, I certainly hope that one would use “he.” Reply Cynthia Erlandson November 30, 2020 I, too, really enjoyed the very clever rhyme scheme — mirrored in pairs of verses. (Not to mention I agree with the content.) Reply Julian D. Woodruff December 1, 2020 Thank you, Ms. Erlandson. The use of successive unrhymed lines lends itself to variations that I may try out over the next few months. Reply Jeff Kemper November 30, 2020 I read the first stanza of your poem that did not rhyme with some disappointment, but read on. C.B.’s discovery of the rhyming pattern was similar to mine. After the second stanza I thought I had indeed heard some rhymes after all. I was intrigued by what I found and then read on. Nicely done! Reply Julian D. Woodruff December 1, 2020 Thanks for your patience, Mr. Kemper. I haven’t read enough to tell you of other such strategies in English. In German, however, there’s a brilliant example of a garbled rhyme scheme (in the context one might even say chaotic) in “Sprich nicht immer” from Das Buch der haengenden Gaerten by Stefan George (normally a very–ma y would say excessively tidy–poet. Reply Margaret Coats December 1, 2020 Julian, your suggested translation of Novus Ordo as “Great Reset” immediately reminded me of The Great Facade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Roman Catholic Church, a book by Christopher Ferrara and Thomas Woods. On page 65, the authors say something quite pertinent to us as artists concerned with words: Certain verbal viruses have infected the Body of Christ. These viruses are pseudo-concepts which, like actual viruses, have minimal informational content. Just as a virus hovers between life and non-life, these pseudo-concepts hover between meaning and non-meaning. They seem to mean something, but upon close examination, we find no real meaning. As viruses are particles of RNA or DNA rather than complete living cells, so these pseudo-concepts are particles of an idea which do not amount to an intelligible abstract concept. These viral pseudo-concepts in the Mystical Body of Christ, like actual viruses, exist only to reproduce themselves, which they do by infecting the understanding of genuine concepts with precise meaning–namely, the perennial teachings of the Magisterium. This goes well beyond the current topic of your poem, but represents a profound idea that helps comprehend all the misleading speech emanating from ecclesiastical authorities. We always find some background virus such as “dialogue,” “collegiality,” “ecumenism,” “updating,” etc. Reply Julian D. Woodruff December 1, 2020 Perceptive passage. I imagine Orwell would agree. Of course, one’s guard is up when one finds such words in secular contexts, too. Synodal path? Reply Joseph S. Salemi December 1, 2020 Some other verbal viruses infecting the Novus Ordo mentality are “discernment,” “accompanying,” “Mother Earth,” “synodality,” “conciliarism,” “celebration,” “environmental responsibility,” and “the preferential option for the poor.” The list could be lengthened, but you get the drift. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.