|Matthew VIII,28 ff.
Rabbi, we Gadarenes|
Are not ascetics; we are fond of wealth and possessions.
Love, as You call it, we obviate by means
Of the planned release of aggressions.
We have deep faith in properity.
Soon, it is hoped, we will reach our full potential.
In the light of our gross product, the practice of charity
Is palpably non-essential.
It is true that we go insane;
That for no good reason we are possessed by devils;
That we suffer, despite the amenities which obtain
At all but the lowest levels.
We shall not, however, resign
Our trust in the high-heaped table and the full trough.
If You cannot cure us without destroying our swine,
We had rather You shoved off.
I think Richard Wilbur is the best poet of this American age. Sadly, he is missed by the greater part of high school and college English courses. Leafing through my high school daughter's English anthology (a celebration of things multi-cultural), I find Maya Angelou and other blank versifiers, but no Wilbur. The language and culture went the way of Lowell and low-brows like Kerouac, and left behind the wordsmiths who could still grasp myth.
Wilbur answers the question, "Where would our culture be if it were scripted into the Gospels?" We would like, of course, to be the Sadduccees or the Pharisees, or even the regular Jews or Gentiles, even cretins like Zacchaeus.
But no to all these. Wilbur is right. We are the Gaderenes in our profound attachments, and we are so passionate about our enterprises that -- like a fish unaware of the water -- we don't even see the chains or the tombs.