Friday, July 29, 2005
They're thinner today. Less to record.
"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Luke 12:7).
I'm told my meaning is nebulous. Therefore, just to be crystal clear, I hereby announce that I have cut my hair. It is very short. Almost as short as in the picture of me to the left.
So much for subtilty. ;) Thank you for your attention.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Mine, to be precise. The habit of not organizing my thoughts logically enough before articulating them, leading to such debacles of argument as Days 2, 3 and 5 below. Also, the habit of beginning a post with sentence fragments, but we'll overlook that one for today. ;)
Since my first attempts sucked, let's try again.
Guggian Political Theory, Mark II.
I take issue with several key ideas of the evangelical conservative movement. More to the point, I dislike and oppose any group that tries to advance an ideology via political means. This of course puts me at odds with most of humanity.
One could argue, I suppose, that any political theory whatsoever is itself an ideology. Perhaps it is. If so, then I guess my position is that it's not supposed to mix with any other ideology. One could pull that meaning out of Christ's instructions to render to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. It would be rather forced, but one could do it. Either way, I find myself a rather fierce proponent of a strict separation of church/ideology and state.
Now bear with me, because I'm thinking aloud again, as it were, trying to figure out if, and if so why, I have a legitimate beef with the way things have usually been done in human history.
In doing so, I guess I should start with my presuppositions. Which are basically that the most desirable state is the one which recognizes and protects the innate dignity and basic liberty and essential equality of every human person. Which ideas are admittedly Christian. If I could, I'd like to find a compelling argument for that presupposition outside Christianity, but I can't, unless it be that no individual, of whatever religion, could deny that he desires liberty and dignity and equality--even if he believes he has no right to it, he will still at least desire it. Which might be enough to make an areligious presupposition. I dunno. Anyway, that's where I'm starting.
I consider the above to stem from the essential Christian doctrines of human nature--that each human being is created in the image of God and has innate dignity, that God gives each of us the freedom to choose the manner in which we will live, and that God is no respecter of persons. Also that man is fallen, but that's fairly self-evident. Hence the following intends to be a specifically Christian political theory. If you disagree with me (and I don't mess up), it's probably because you disagree with my presuppositions about human nature.
So the state is to be designed to protect the exercise of human nature by its people, protect it, incidentally, against the abuse of human nature. Thus property and life and liberty are protected, but also the right to choose for one's self the manner in which to live. The state's responsibility is to protect the individual free will up to the point that it begins to infringe on the free will of others. At that point the individual free will becomes criminal, and must be contained.
Note that such a state leaves all the onus for righteous or profitable living on the people. It is a system which can contain all religions and a veritable multitude of sins without any violation of its own teleology. It can, indeed, lapse into nonexistence for any number of causes: economic, military, moral, or a combination of the above, all without ever failing its purpose. For, being established by the people, it must be sustained by them--sustaining them was never part of its function. A people which enshrines the right of free will in its government in so doing retains to themselves the right of self-destruction, and the sole responsibility to avert it, without resorting to government.
This system looks, actually, remarkably like the one we have today in America. At the least, it bears a marked resemblance to what this nation once was, or perhaps was intended to be. Then again, in other ways modern America is even closer to this model than was old America. The individual free will is still protected--more than ever before, in fact, as witnessed by the fact that America today contains all religions and a greater multitude of unconcealed sins than ever before. We even seem to be slowly destroying ourselves--or at least many think we are.
That is where I come to be at odds with the religious right. Seeing the crisis, they want to make use of government to stop the moral decay.
Not that I always disagree with them. Abortion should most certainly be made once again illegal. Children should most certainly not be taught unequivocally in school that their parents are fools for believing in God because God is not scientific. After all, abortion is murder, and the state is empowered to prevent that. And the state should certainly not mandate any ideology in its education, apart from the basic understanding of freedom and responsibility under the law necessary to a citizen of this nation.
But homosexuality? What business is that of the state? Whose free will would homosexual marriage take away?
Don't get me wrong--I do not approve in the least of homosexuality. But if those living in sin actually have a desire to live in love with one another faithfully, under the legal protection and constraints of marriage, why should we punish them for it? So long as those marriages are purely a state matter, so long as our churches are not mandated to perform them, why should we fight against it?
And while I'm on the subject, what business do we have judging and despising them anyway? Christ loved such as these. He also said not to judge, lest we be judged.
It is on issues like homosexuality that the religious right and I part company. A state founded on Christian principles affords Christians the freedom to practice their faith as they see fit, bu it does the same to every other religion and ideology, so long as they are willing to affirm certain essential rights of humanity. In doing so it admits the possibility that the ideological makeup of its population may change in the course of time. If it changes enough, those rights and freedoms enjoyed by Christians and by all others (but founded in Christian principles) will eventually be revoked, and the state will change. But any use of the state to prevent such a change would itself effect the very change being avoided.
The very fact that it is possible to entertain certain notions about marriage or education demonstrates that this state is already changing. Or perhaps it has always been this way. Either way, the goal should be a return to the uninvolved government outlined above, not the seizure of government influence for Christianity. After all, American politics are fickle. Heaven forbid that any precedents we set while in power be used against us when the power goes to the other side.
Therefore the religious right should direct their efforts towards a few specific goals. 1) Outlawing abortion, or at least reducing the debate simply to the issue of when human life begins and comes under the protection of the state. In the course of that struggle, the church should do its utmost to make abortion as rare as possible. We certainly have the means to do so. 2) Abolishing all governmental requirements on the subject matter of public education. It is impossible that ideology be divorced from education, but let it be the ideology of each teacher, not one handed down from on high by the state. 3) Any other goal that will level the political playing field and ensure that the state does not officially push any ideology apart from its own limited political ideology. 4) Maintaining close watch on the government to make sure that it stays neutral and uninvolved in all ideological issues (related to 3, I know). 5) Living up to the fullness of the Christian Faith, in order both to be true to our calling and to convert America from the bottom up.
Which is all I was trying to say below.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I seem to have done it. A week of daily posting. I surprised myself with how much opinion I had pent up. Over 3000 words is a fair bit to write unassigned, even when it's more or less all mere pontification, not researched or cited.
I find myself a little disturbed at how much I pontificated. Before this week, I had been thinking that I was a fairly level-headed fellow--patting myself on the back, as it were, for having reached some fairly stable conclusions about the way the world works. I thought I had it all worked out.
Now that I've articulated some of those thoughts, they seem a good bit less stable. No one's really taken the time yet to poke holes in my ideas, and they still seem more ventilated than I'd expected.
Most of that is that I'm out of practice with articulating thoughts to people who don't already know my thought patterns and share my presuppositions. And that's probably why I feel like I'm stagnating intellectually.
This is the part of the post where I say that I intend to keep posting my opinions, if only to make myself articulate them on paper so I can see how nonspectacular they are and don't get too excited about my own intelligence, but also in hopes that the very intelligent people who I know read this blog at least on occasion will take the time to poke the holes that I don't see and discuss better options with me--but that I'll space them out more reasonably, so as to only have one big huge opinionated post per week, or whatever interval it takes me to think an opinion up and write it down.
But if I'm not posting every day, I'll probably lapse back into the more typical frequency.
But I hope not.
At any rate, I've enjoyed the week, though it's humbled me and made me think about what I want to do with this blog in the future. I clearly need to hone my style--hopefully it will help if I take more time to edit and refine stuff before I post it. More variety would be good too...as I look back over the past couple years, I've more or less pontificated, joked, self-deprecated and posted links in lieu of the above. Maybe I should write some stories...
Or maybe not.
This post isn't ending itself, and I'm rambling, and I'm tired, so I'm just going to stop.
Thanks for reading.
Monday, July 25, 2005
This courtesy of Arthur Chrenkoff. You have to place each country precisely where it belongs on the European continent.
I got 40 out of 45 right, with an average error of 30 miles on the ones I got wrong. The Balkans kinda threw me, though--them and San Marino and the rest of those itty-bitty countries.
The website has other continents as well--try your hand at them.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
It has been pointed out to me by a long-suffering reader of my blog over the past few days that I have been longwinded, radical and unclear as to my actual point. My apologies.
The posts of the past three days were supposed to function as mere preliminary steps to a much more basic point/plea.
I want the religious right to call off the juggernaut, bow out of politics and get back to the real Christian work of becoming Christ-like.
It seems clear to me that "taking America for Christ" has replaced "becoming Christ-like" as the proper manner of living the Christian Faith, for a majority of American Christians. Which makes perfect sense, as "taking America for Christ" requires only that an individual nod his head on Sunday or during Rush Limbaugh's broadcast, argue conservatism with liberal friends, and poke the right hole in a piece of paper every four years--which actions afford a great sense of self-satisfaction and self-righteousness, while offering the (elusive) promise of a quick fix to all society's woes.
Whereas "becoming Christ-like" requires death to self and humility, over the course of a lifetime.
It's no wonder the one method is more popular. But it's not working, and it won't work. This country will not change unless its people change, and its people will not change (certainly not in their hearts, where it counts) unless they see Christ's love and holiness instantiated in those who bear His name. Only an authentic Christianity can convince those outside to become authentic Christians.
Not that I have any objection to individual Christians pursuing political office. But I'd really like to see the political movement die--or at least direct its efforts in a more fruitful direction: inward.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
That's right. It is Saturday, the Sabbath, and I am resting, not composing yet another huge post.
On a subject related to the previous posts, however, let me offer this intriguing point/counterpoint for your perusal.
Last year the former Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) wrote an article on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy, in which the following gem (I call it a gem because his point is quite similar to the one I tried to make yesterday) appears:
"Christian belief - following in the way of Jesus - has negated the idea of political theocracy. It has - to express it in modern terms - produced the worldliness of states, wherein Christians along with the adherents of other convictions live together in peace. Thus is distinguished the Christian belief that the Kingdom of God does not exist as a political reality, and cannot so exist, but rather, through faith, hope and love is it attained, and the world transformed from within. But under the conditions of temporality, the Kingdom of God is no worldly empire, but rather, a call for the freedom of humanity and a support for reason that it may fulfill its own mission. The temptations of Jesus were ultimately about this distinction, about the rejection of political theocracy, about the relativity of states and reason’s own law, as well as about the freedom to choose, which is meant for every person. In this sense, the secular state follows from of a fundamental Christian decision, even if it required a long struggle to understand this in all its consequences. This worldly, “secular” state incorporates, in its essence, the balance between reason and religion, which I have tried here to present."
The counterpoint is by a fellow named Stephen Eric Bronner (of Rutgers, evidently), who appears to have completely misunderstood the Pope's point. It is one of the most perfect examples I have ever seen of that all too common phenomenon wherein a Christian and a Secularist experience an utter failure to communicate, much less agree. The man appears to hold as a fundamental presupposition that Faith has no legitimacy whatsoever, nothing at all to contribute to the betterment of human life. Witness this quote.
"Faith, myth, and dogma lie at the core of servitude and authoritarianism. Critique, science, and tolerance – by contrast -- incarnate what little hope that there is for the hopeless."
Take a look at the two articles if you can--they're well worth the time, if only for the contrast between them. I think it nicely sums up the magnitude of the present rift between Faith and Reason.
Friday, July 22, 2005
For nearly two millenia Christians have struggled to bring about the marriage of God and Caesar. And for two millenia each effort has failed, besmirching the name of Christ with the countless atrocities committed in service of that marriage by those who bear His name. One wonders where we went wrong.
After all, the theory of the Byzantine emperors (who started the whole thing) seemed so sound, based as it was in the fundamental potential for sanctity present in the created order due to Christ's Incarnation. We do affirm, after all, that creation was intended to exist in communion with God (and hence to be holy), that through the fall of man creation was estranged from God (man having been created as the head of creation), and that the Incarnation, death and Resurrection of Christ has made possible the restoration of that communion, inasmuch as Christ bridged the gap between the divine and the created in Himself. And is not the state a part of the created order?*
So it is, but the question of by what process precisely creation is made holy must first be answered in order to determine what is the state's potential for holiness and how it might be achieved. It is a question which, unfortunately, most seem to have neglected.
In the Christian schema a human person (created as the head and steward of Creation, remember) becomes holy by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, an indwelling made possible only by the continuing assent of the individual will in surrendering one's own passions and desires and submitting to the will of God, allowing the Holy Spirit to make Himself present in one's life and make it holy. Put more simply, holiness is a result of an individual's willing love for God.**
This willing love must be given freely by each individual. No one can give it for them.*** It cannot be coerced. It is, in fact, an act of will which a state can never make. Any state which sets out to be Christian (that is, Christ-like and therefore holy) will be forced to coerce those who are unwilling to submit their will to God, to essentially force them to love God and demonstrate it by keeping His commandments. (I consider this definitionally self-evident--any "Christian" state whose populace is not Christian is itself not Christian) By that coercion the state will betray a fundamental tenet of the Christian Faith--God desires love, and love must be given freely, else it is not love, but fear.
Hence a state truly founded on Christian principles would paradoxically take care to impose very few Christian morals on its populace--the laws would be limited to the minimum necessary for basic domestic order and security, leaving each individual free to choose in what manner he/she would live, free to choose whether or not to offer themselves in love to God. God created us free in this way--the state should not interfere.
The Church in such a state would thus be forced (as it once was) to earn converts solely on the virtue of the fruit it bears, rather than the political clout it wields. And it seems to me that a Christian church that focused its energies on worthily bearing the name of Christ, rather than on enforcing a legalistic morality on the rest of society, would find itself facing an influx of converts instead of the solid wall of opposition it faces today.
For it is evident to me that we ourselves have built that wall. Too often we have excused ourselves from bearing fruit worthy of repentance, excused ourselves by devoting our energies to imposing a law which not even we can follow upon those we perceive to be worse than ourselves. For far too long, we have neglected mercy and justice and faith, paying our tithes in the mint and anise and cummin of political evangelism. We must awaken to the fact that, to those outside the church, the history of our dabbling in politics over the past 17 centuries looks like one long betrayal of the love of Christ. By our own standards they judge us, and we are indeed guilty.
Instead, if we truly have faith in Christ, then let us leave this fruitless politicking, commit ourselves wholeheartedly to His service in love, and trust his words that it is by our fruits that the world will know us to be His disciples. Meanwhile rest assured that the fields white for harvest do not lie beneath the United States Capitol Dome, and that the nation whose God is the Lord is the nation whose people bear His Law inscribed on their hearts, not in their law books.
But that nation will indeed be blessed.
*In returning to the Byzantine theorists, I would like to set aside the theological justifications upon which the Protestant/Evangelical/Conservative theorists base their movements, which justifications seem to rest either upon the ancient and relatively universal assumption that religion is and must be the fundamental common bond of any human society or upon the ancient Hebrew notion of covenant which essentially melds the state and the "church" into one entity. Neither argument is predicated on specifically Christian presuppositions--the first is more or less a common human tradition, which the second is predicated on a unique historical instance in which God made a covenant with a people/tribe/ethnic group, thereby uniting their religious and legal institutions/jurisdictions. Both justifications for a religious government are, I think, inimical to an authentic Christian worldview.
**In an attempt to head off those who will say that I have just articulated a works-based salvation/holiness, I offer this more detailed description of the process. In the Orthodox mystical tradition, this process is experienced as a growingly acute awareness of one's sinfulness and destitute state, which in turn drives an increasing dependence upon Christ's love and mercy. The result is a person acutely aware of God's love for him/her, and hence a person desperately in love with God and wholeheartedly committed to the fulfillment of God's will, out of love, not fear. Reference Luke 7:10-50. We are saved by grace and therefore dedicated to good works.
***I suspect that some will argue that the Orthodox practice of infant baptism contradicts this assertion. On the contrary--as I said, the act of love must be continual. Therefore even though we baptize our infants and raise them in the Faith, it is incumbent to them to allow the Holy Spirit to act. They are not coerced, and the decision is not made for them. Rather they are set upon a path, one on which they can remain or which they may leave. It has always been the right of parents to show their children how to live, and the children have always seized the right to weigh that way of life for themselves.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Above is the last flag to fly over a Christian Constantinople. Its proponents today consider it the symbol of the ideal Christian state, representing the symbiosis and equality of the secular and religious authorities in a single state. Above is the dream that was Byzantium--the kingdom of heaven on earth.
There is a theological rationale for this. Orthodox Christianity has a long history of upholding the potential sanctity of the material order as a consequence of the pervasity and efficacy of Christ's Incarnation. If God became man, entering into and joining himself with our fallen nature, then even fallen matter has the potential for holiness. Our belief in the sanctity of the relics of the saints, our requests for their intercessions and our veneration of their icons are all based in this fundamental affirmation that that which has fallen away from God may be restored to communion with Him and by virtue of that communion may become holy. Hence any veneration given to a saint or a relic or an icon is directed ultimately to God, who has made that person or object holy. And hence did the fathers of the seventh Ecumenical Council pass anathema on those who refused to venerate the saints and the relics and the icons, seeing in that refusal ultimately a denial of the reality of Christ's Incarnation and of His sanctification of the created order.
This argument has been extended into political theory--that is to say, if a person or an object may become holy by participating in the holiness of Christ, then so may (and must) a state. And the argument is made that the denial of the potential for a Christian state is therefore subject to the same anathema passed on those who deny the efficacy of Christ's Incarnation.
It is at this point in the argument that the Christian Conservative movement joins with the Byzantine theorists of the theanthropic state in arguing for the imposition of Christian morality upon society. "We are able to go up and take the country," they say. "We must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill," they say. And the means, they say, urging the Christian community to action, is the law. All we have to do to create a Christian state is enshrine Christian morality and faith in the Constitution of the United States, and then enforce the law.
They should consider the history of such ideas. What was the fate of Christian Byzantium? What was the fate of Winthrop's "City on a Hill." What is the current state of European Christendom? The city on a hill seems doomed to fall, into sin or to foreign tyranny--despite all our efforts to enforce godliness, God does not seem overly pleased.
Byzantium is now remembered for the intrigue and complexity of its internal politics, New England for its bigotry and dourness, and the era of Christian Europe is otherwise known as the Dark Ages. Whether or not those reputations are completely justified (and they are not), they nonetheless prove Winthrop's prophecy true. "...if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speake evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God's sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us..."
And hence the final accomplishment of every Christian state that has ever existed is simply posterity's attribution of their sins to the God they claimed to serve. Despite our best efforts, the kingdom of heaven has not yet descended to earth.
Is it possible that we're chasing a red herring?
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
There is among my circle of friends and acquaintances from Hillsdale a sub-category which Daniel Silliman has dubbed The Disgruntled Sons of the Moral Majority. They are those young (mostly) men who have rejected or drifted from the (usually) evangelical Protestant faith of their parents and instead embraced a variety of viewpoints, some more defined, some less. Some tend towards rejecting religion altogether, some only the Christian God, some only the particularly conservative stripe of Christianity in which they were reared (occasionally, though rarely, for an even more conservative stripe). I don't think I've encountered any exhaustive listing of their ranks, but Silliman's term makes me think of several by name: Daniel Silliman himself, Jonathan Metzger, Peter Krupa, Nathan Loizeaux, Adam Prizio, Sam Nicholson, and perhaps Will Farnham. Bob Golding gets a mention as well, although I don't think he was quite the son of any Moral Majority member.
I suppose I consider these fellows to be "Disgruntled Sons" because they are the ones who I expect will be least impressed with any argument I make in favour of Christianity in general, or Orthodoxy in particular. By least impressed, I mean either "ready to bust out the big guns to decimate my argument" or "couldn't care less about what I have to say," depending on the person.
But they are also the members of the Hillsdale Blogosphere whose opinions I most respect, whose blogs I most enjoy reading, those for whose comments I eagerly hope every time I post something theological/philosophical. These are the men with whom I most enjoy conversation--not the members of the Orthodox Blogosphere, as I should expect it to be.
I find this confusing. My faith, I think, is strong. So why do I not enjoy the company of those who share that faith as much as that of these who do not?
I suppose that, in a certain sense, I am as much a Disgruntled Son as the rest of them--I certainly struck out away from my parents' specific worldview in search of something better long before I got to college. But unlike the rest of them, I was never really even tempted to reject Christianity. When I saw problems in Christianity, I blamed them on myself or on the fallibility of other people. I have still seen nothing that discredits the essence of the Faith--unless it be the fact that I so often prefer the Disgruntled Sons over fellow Orthodox Christians. ;)
So what made these men, for whom I hold such respect, jump ship? Why does faith falter? Why do the Disgruntled Sons wander so far? And why am I content to remain?
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I need more of it in my life. I'm told it's one of those things you just have to do--it doesn't just happen. (Huh--go figure) Therefore, I am going to try "just doing it"--again. ;)
This also means that I am taking the Krupa/Zach Challenge. I don't know who Zach is, but he posted every day for a week, so I can too. Besides, I like his blog. It is funny.
So here's to discipline. Tomorrow will be Day 1.
Moving on to news--My wife and I have now moved across campus to a larger apartment. Visitors are now more welcome than ever.
Konrad LaPrade is married. His wedding was dignified, cheeseless and short. Bravo to the Book of Common Prayer and journalistic conciseness.
The mostly defunct Seraphim is now married. He is now in Jamaica. Congratulations to him and Anne.
My wife and I saw old friends at his wedding, and realized that we miss the Midwest.
The summer is almost gone, and I haven't learned enough modern Greek.
My time at the seminary is rushing by--makes me feel dizzy.
The new Harry Potter book was nothing like I expected it to be. I think it was also the best yet. Don't ask me why--I'm still processing.
I need to read more theology and less Harry Potter.
I need to come up with a post idea for tomorrow.
Prizio is writing some wonderful things. Go read his stuff.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
By Rudyard Kipling
Yearly, with tent and rifle, our careless white men go
By the pass called Muttianee, to shoot in the vale below.
Yearly by Muttianee he follows our white men in—
Matun, the old blind beggar, bandaged from brow to chin.
Eyeless, noseless, and lipless—toothless, broken of speech,
Seeking a dole at the doorway he mumbles his tale to each;
Over and over the story, ending as he began:
“Make ye no truce with Adam-zad—the Bear that walks like a Man!
“There was a flint in my musket—pricked and primed was the pan,
When I went hunting Adam-zad—the Bear that stands like a Man.
I looked my last on the timber, I looked my last on the snow,
When I went hunting Adam-zad fifty summers ago!
“I knew his times and his seasons, as he knew mine, that fed
By night in the ripened maizefield and robbed my house of bread.
I knew his strength and cunning, as he knew mine, that crept
At dawn to the crowded goat-pens and plundered while I slept.
“Up from his stony playground—down from his well-digged lair—
Out on the naked ridges ran Adam-zad the Bear;
Groaning, grunting, and roaring, heavy with stolen meals,
Two long marches to northward, and I was at his heels!
“Two long marches to northward, at the fall of the second night,
I came on mine enemy Adam-zad all panting from his flight.
There was a charge in the musket—pricked and primed was the pan—
My finger crooked on the trigger—when he reared up like a man.
“Horrible, hairy, human, with paws like hands in prayer,
Making his supplication rose Adam-zad the Bear!
I looked at the swaying shoulders, at the paunch’s swag and swing,
And my heart was touched with pity for the monstrous, pleading thing.
“Touched with pity and wonder, I did not fire then . . .
I have looked no more on women—I have walked no more with men.
Nearer he tottered and nearer, with paws like hands that pray
From brow to jaw that steel-shod paw, it ripped my face away!
“Sudden, silent, and savage, searing as flame the blow—
Faceless I fell before his feet, fifty summers ago.
I heard him grunt and chuckle—I heard him pass to his den.
He left me blind to the darkened years and the little mercy of men,
“Now ye go down in the morning with guns of the newer style,
That load (I have felt) in the middle and range (I have heard) a mile?
Luck to the white man's rifle, that shoots so fast and true,
But—pay, and I lift my bandage and show what the Bear can do!”
(Flesh like slag in the furnace, knobbed and withered and grey—
Matun, the old blind beggar, he gives good worth for his pay.)
“Rouse him at noon in the bushes, follow and press him hard—
Not for his ragings and roarings flinch ye from Adam-zad.
“But (pay, and I put back the bandage) this is the time to fear,
When he stands up like a tired man, tottering near and near;
When he stands up as pleading, in wavering, man-brute guise,
When he veils the hate and cunning of his little, swinish eyes;
“When he shows as seeking quarter, with paws like hands in prayer,
That is the time of peril—the time of the Truce of the Bear!”
Eyeless, noseless, and lipless, asking a dole at the door,
Matun, the old blind beggar, he tells it o’er and o’er;
Fumbling and feeling the rifles, warming his hands at the flame,
Hearing our careless white men talk of the morrow’s game;
Over and over the story, ending as he began—
“There it no truce with Adam-zad, the Bear that looks like a Man!”
Posted with my condolences and best wishes to the people of Great Britain