Gods, Men and When – a poem about dead religions

I wrote this poem after walking through the temple of Karnak in Egypt recently and then visiting the glorious technicoloured tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

I was standing among the dead Gods and faith of the past.

This is another poem from my 8th book of poetry which will be appearing in print shortly.

Gods, Men and When

Dead gods and decaying pharaohs

Amid heaps of rock

Under a searing sun

Where it hardly ever rains.

 

Lost beliefs and faith

Strong enough to build empires,

Now buried in sand,

Slipping between the grains.

 

Such colossal majesty and splendour,

Built on sand

Without foundation.

 

Such fantastic effort and sacrifice,

Based on hope,

Binding a nation.

 

Such is the way of gods and men

They come and go,

Leave their mark

And vanish in the when.

 

Opher 21.4.2017

 

 

Gods, Men and When

 

It always seems to me that we never learn from the mistakes of the past or see ourselves in people who have gone before.

The mighty Egyptian empire was based around a philosophy that bound them together – that there was a god who had to be worshipped and sacrificed to, that the priests and pharaohs were special and had divine powers and had to be obeyed.

The religion unified the nation. The monuments, temples and tombs are testament to the power of that religion and the pharaohs. Huge enterprises, trade and war were undertaken merely in order to satisfy the gods. Massive expenditures of time, effort, manpower and resources were placed into building those tombs, statues, obelisks, pyramids, sphinxes and temples. Thousands, maybe millions died to complete them. Did the pharaohs really believe the lavish arrangements were the key to the afterlife? Or did they serve to denote power, solidify the status, impress enemies, and subjugate the people?

Who knows?

What we do know is that those gods and beliefs no longer hold sway. All that sacrifice, energy and effort was hollow. They were not real gods and that was not the way to the afterlife. Thousands of years, lives and sacrifice down the drain.

Yet we still appoint Kings and Bishops, Imams and Emperors, Popes and Dictators and create new gods to worship. Gods that are the real ones this time. Gods that will last for ever. Gods that demand sacrifice, worship and ever bigger temples, cathedrals, mosques and churches.

I cannot help thinking that a lot more could be achieved if we were to work out that the kings, bishops, imams, emperors, dictators, popes and the rest are just ordinary people, just like us, with inflated egos and a heap of psychological problems, that there is no god demanding that we dress in a certain way, pray five times a day and worship in peculiar manner, neither is there any afterlife. Then perhaps we could put our energies into a more equal society and do away with poverty, ignorance and the superrich and overly powerful.

We never seem to learn from the past.

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27 thoughts on “Gods, Men and When – a poem about dead religions

  1. It’s sad that people don’t learn from the past and put so much effort into useless things when that effort could be used for something else which could change the world.

  2. You are right Pooj. Just think how great the world could be for everyone and all other creatures if there was fairness, equality, caring and thoughtfulness.
    That’s what we have to work to put right. We can make it better.

  3. i think the god never lives in any temple , he don’t need any special place to live . actually the god is nothing but our positive attitude and our soul which thinks and talk behind everything . many people never learned from their past because they blame god for their mistakes and not themselves.

  4. They did leave us some stupendous structures and art. Ditto the exploitation of the Holy Ronan empire. It is depressing to see how ancient knowledge and skills are so quickly forgotten and lost under the sands.

  5. This reminds me of the song Old Time Religion.

    Track art
    Old Time Religion
    Pete Seeger
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    Lyrics
    Give me that old time religion
    Give me that old time religion
    Give me that old time religion
    It’s good enough for me.

    We will pray with Aphrodite,
    We will pray with Aphrodite,
    She wears that see-through nightie,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    We will pray with Zarathustra,
    We’ll pray just like we use ta,
    I’m a Zarathustra booster,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    We will pray with those Egyptians,
    Build pyramids to put our crypts in,
    Cover subways with inscriptions,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    We will pray with those old druids,
    They drink fermented fluids,
    Waltzing naked though the woo-ids,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    We do dances to bring water,
    Prepare animals for slaughter,
    Sacrifice our sons and daughters,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    I’ll arise at early morning,
    When my Lord gives me the warning,
    That the solar age is dawning,
    And it’s good enough for me

  6. This reminds me of the song Old Time Religion.

    Lyrics
    Give me that old time religion
    Give me that old time religion
    Give me that old time religion
    It’s good enough for me.

    We will pray with Aphrodite,
    We will pray with Aphrodite,
    She wears that see-through nightie,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    We will pray with Zarathustra,
    We’ll pray just like we use ta,
    I’m a Zarathustra booster,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    We will pray with those Egyptians,
    Build pyramids to put our crypts in,
    Cover subways with inscriptions,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    We will pray with those old druids,
    They drink fermented fluids,
    Waltzing naked though the woo-ids,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    We do dances to bring water,
    Prepare animals for slaughter,
    Sacrifice our sons and daughters,
    And it’s good enough for me.

    I’ll arise at early morning,
    When my Lord gives me the warning,
    That the solar age is dawning,
    And it’s good enough for me

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