What is the Christian hope?
Pigeons huddled on the steeple’s warm side, pigeons flying under the bridge, their wings spread like bones.

What do we mean by the coming of Christ in glory?
Habits.  Coffee in the same mug.  Stick in the same hand.

What do we mean by heaven and hell?
The crumbs in the bottom of the ciborium.

Why do we pray for the dead?
So that they may walk across the ash, leaving footprints.

What do we mean by the last judgement?
A plastic bag that brings back memories of lardy cake rich with currents bought from a homely old woman in a bakery in the town where Alfred the Great was born.

What do we mean by the resurrection of the body?
Short images, meetings and farewells.

What is the communion of saints?
A tiny girl with indeterminate features, a fairy person in a filmy dress, pink.

What do we mean by everlasting life?
That all day long, the snow will fall and form itself into elegant drifts, that ice will spread from the edges of the river and downstream to the estuary, forcing all the herons to take to the air.

What, then, is our assurance as Christians?
That every fairytale is real—that all the hapless heroines, gallant, obsessive princes, useless kings and brilliant witches are arising and taking over every small-time government everywhere on Earth.


Thus ends the Dadaist Catechism.


2 comments on “THE CHRISTIAN HOPE

  1. Mike P says:

    “That every fairytale is real…” — I love that “answer”! It reminds me of Tolkien’s “On Fairy-Story.” (And also of the recently completed fifth season of “Doctor Who” — one of the recurring themes was, “We’re all stories; just make yours a good one” — but I am more of a science fiction nerd than a poet, I’m afraid!)

    Thanks for your catechism… The question about “what other means of grace arose” reminded me of my aunt, who taught me about the sacramental nature of celebrating red trees in the fall in the North Carolina mountains.

    I discovered your blog via Sarah Arthur, and will be following it regularly. Thanks again!

    • Hi, Mike. I’m glad you found this. Doing this “dada” thing was really fun–the answers were randomly selected from a pile of odd little bits and pieces in my notebooks–things that never quite became poems. I loved the surprises.

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