Volume > Issue > Enlightenment



By William Luse | October 1983

“Browning soon worked out of unbelief to an undogmatic, respectable form of theism.” — confidently stated in a text­book introduction to his poems


The world at last has gained its senses,

Unearthing two truths we’d least expect:

That Deity has lost his dogma

And Mr. Browning has found respect.


History shows that respectable men

Rarely intend heresy or schism.

For only a man ahead of his time

Postulates Victorian Modernism.


By mixing water with God and Creed

(Mix with one and lose them both)

No crucifix need ever bleed

And poets need not take an oath.


We bend a knee to men of esteem,

Their proffered chalice of respectable blend.

Of bloodless trinity. Embraced in faith

It will bring them to no neglectable end.


We sing our praise of respectable men,

That highly regarded, selectable group.

Whose thoughts spill out like martyrs’ blood

To warm the cold theistic soup,


Whose labors pour forth by the brow’s fevered sweat

Whereon the trembling firmament leans,

Lifting the burdensome yoke of dogma

And the burden of knowing what any­thing means.


The world at least beholds in light

Two truths our scholars could never de­tect:

That Mr. Browning has found his dogma.

And Deity has lost respect.

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