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Burnt Offerings

Ever wonder why all mankind’s gods are capricious?
The Good ones, I mean, not the Evil, of course.
Kicking Adam the Gardener out of his honeymoon
cottage, and why? Just to show him who’s boss?

Coolly wiping out slews of good Greeks because some god
got up on the wrong side of somebody’s bed?
So what’s life without spice (you might say), some excitement,
some danger, a few rounds of Russian roulette?

Ah yes! Fine! But you see, every myth’s a reflection
(reflecting on all of us humans, I’d say)
and when nature seems not quite explicable, acts
downright hostile, it might just seem better to pray

to the willfulest god in creation than sit
in your cave all alone with that thunder and lightning,
that chilling indifference. Yes, better, in dark times,
to sacrifice anything handy – rams’ thighs, kings,

your children or (good thought) some luscious young virgins
than go it alone in the universe. ‘Course,
all that stuff’s now passé. No more victims. No, now
all they want is your soul. Autres temps, autres moeurs

(and for good, I suppose), no more Thanksgiving feasts.
Still, things were cleaner then – less expensive, at least.
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Submitted on May 01, 2011

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Stephen Colley

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