The Song of the New Jesus

Original Text: 
Wilson MacDonald, The Song of the Undertow and other Poems (Toronto: S. J. Reginald, 1935): 166-67.
1All the fat and shiny preachers
2    From their pulpits say:
3."Time has made a great improvement
4    In our Lord today.
5Once he preached a foolish sermon
6    Praising peace and love;
8    And a mailéd glove.."
9Here comes Jesus, lowly Jesus,
10    Riding on a battleship:
12    Pistols on his hip.
14    Turns and says to me:
15."Gadzooks, how the Lord has changed
17Jesus led the English forces
18    Or the bishop lied,
19Jesus drove the Prussian horses
20    (Gad! How he could ride!).
21He went out with every army,
22    Driving this and that;
23Russian, German, French and English:
24    What an acrobat!
26    In the days of yore;
27Now he stands in nave and pulpit
28    Urging men to war.
29Long ago He cried to Peter:
30    ."Put away your sword.."
31Now he leads His hosts to battle:
32    He's a fickle Lord.
34    (Did He speak in fun?)
35Now he favors sword and shrapnel,
36    Bayonet, gas and gun.
37Once, all nations saw sweet pity
38    On His sorrowed face.
39Now he keeps his love exclusive
40    For some favored race.
41Here comes Jesus, lowly Jesus,
42    Riding on a battleship:
43."Rule Britannia." in his pocket,
44    Pistols on his hip.
45Simon Peter, happening near,
46    Turns and says to me,
47."Gadzooks, how the Lord has changed
48    Since old Gethsemane.."

Notes

7] khaki: fabric of British army uniforms, a tough twilled cotton. Back to Line
11] English patriotic song written by James Thomson (1700-48). Back to Line
13] Simon Peter: Founder of the Church of Rome, and one of Jesus's disciples. Back to Line
16] Gethsemane: garden at the bottom of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem where Jesus gave himself up to Roman soldier for trial, torture, and crucifixion: self-sacrifice out of love for humanity. Back to Line
25] Jesus's sermon on the mount (Matthew 5: 1-5): "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Back to Line
33] Jesus's sermon on the mount (Matthew 5: 38-39): "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: 
Form: