James Tipp (20-06-1945 / East London)
What's in a name?
The name is everything so thought the ancient world
Your naming gave you ambition or gave thanks for your existence
Knowing a name meant power and bought fear because of knowledge
So 'I am' was ambiguous and intimidating all in one announcement
So they called you El, Jehovah, to give substance to the ambiguity.
The world turned and in its turning man found a use for Jehovah
The vengeful god, the storm god who hurled his punishment down
Casting man into an abyss of fire and brimstone a god to be feared
So that the powerful could control the ignorant keep them in line
The meekness of Jesus held no appeal to the men of old, the jihads
Who frightened friend and foe with their images of an ungraceful god.
The world turns and the people of power long for the old days
They want to use the names and ideas of yesterday but nobody understands
They have lost the idea of a god who terrifies more frightened of themselves
What science can do or the environment, or the tiny virus that virulent killer.
We view the cosmos in such detail and find it awesome and intimidating.
What name can we evoke today to describe the mind behind creation
A name that will resonate with people in their world and bring them hope.
Perhaps we need to return to our beginnings, that ambiguity of presence
'I am what I am' somehow can reflect today's images far better than most
We cannot name the mind behind the glory, it is beyond our comprehension
Merely recognise the presence in all we see and marvel at the wonder of it all.
Comments about this poem (What's in a name? by James Tipp )
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