1. Memorial Disservice
  2. Home
  3. My Poetry
  4. Notes
  5. License

Memorial Disservice

We were there to mark the passing of one of our dear comrades in song
And to sit in sad solidarity with his surviving husband.
Not a funeral, but a Candle Light Vigil
Commemorating many gone
By those still here.
Remembering, sharing, and growing together
As human beings.
We came to listen, to sing, to share, to feel
And perhaps to grow.
There were songs, prayers and sermons.
Many faiths were represented.
Many fine words were spoken.
Several new and subtle heartfelt connections were made.
But one speaker seemed out of step, to have lost his way:
The priest from my former faith, the Roman Catholic.
I remember not a word of what he said,
Only my discomfort at his delivery.
With the other speakers I experienced
Faith as a living thing.
I felt a part of a fabric
      Of Life and Love
      Death and Sorrow
      Survival and Humane Renewal.
The Catholic Priest,
Standing before us all,
Was somewhere else entirely.
Caught up in some
Complex of ritual, rule and dogma,
What came forth was not
      Or anything I'd describe as human or humane.
There he stood.
Reciting his carefully prepared speech
Oblivious to the chasm his words opened
Between him
And those he hoped to help.
What should have been a celebration of life:
      An invitation to love and faith,
      Truth and guidance,
      Solace and growth through spirit,
Was instead a desiccated husk.
All the spirit stripped away.
Any life-message buried under dust.

16 December 2010

by Bill Cattey