I've admired the historical work of E.P. Thompson, the orthodox turned heterodox Marxist historian. Today I got in the mail a book of his poetry. It's not first rate, but there are several I quite liked. This one struck me most today:
The ancient gods and goddesses came down
In thunder or in radiance
Impelled by mischief or pursuing lust,
To sit in judgement or to clown
A moment in the mortal dust -
Dancing as dolphins, fucking as a bull,
Assuming for an hour the transience
Of sensual existence, to relieve
The Eternals' tedium of being spiritual.
Great God, what hassle is this in the skies?
How did He fall into this trap?
Some seraph goofed, some cherub must have lost
The true co-ordinates, perhaps
Celestial terminals got crossed
And teleported Him onto a lap
Where now He lies, unable to compose
His googly out-of-focus eyes,
Fist stuck in mouth, wetting His swaddling clothes.
Poor puny prince of peace, poor helpless sod,
Incarnate deity in agony
With trying to get up his wind -
Humiliating botch-up for a god
Conceived as saviour of mankind
Who cannot even save himself from death!
In pity for his accidental form
God's mother tiptoes to his breath
And pulls the cover up to keep god warm.
- from Collected Poems by E.P. Thompson.