Reflection: Street preacher

 
A shiver runs through me when I recall you, street preacher: 
you stand there, politely dressed, in a neat space between market stalls,  
a small black book in hand 
externally polite, respectable, friendly even 
but with a stream of horror pouring out of your mouth. 
‘Aren’t you afraid?’ you ask the passers-by.  
‘If you ignore me, you’re all going to hell.’ 
[Well, actually it’s God you need to be afraid of.  
He made the fiery pit.  
But he’s willing to let a few of you off being thrown in it if you ask him. 
Isn’t that kind of him?] 

NO,I think. 
I don’t want anything to do with your God. He’s a monster 
..and I wonder what fuels your endless anger, Mr Preacher? 
What twisted your soul? 
What maintains your revenge? 
What process created your Divine Inner Pimp who makes you prostitute yourself on the street like this? 
 
I want to ask you to stop 
To say ‘you’re queering our pitch’ 
‘You’re sowing mistrust of the God who loves to the uttermost.’ 
What would you say? Could I induce you to listen? 
 
No, you would curse me  
As a descendant of Eve:
A woman, whose intuition, whose intelligence, whose compassion 
Is an affront to your certainty. 

So I can only leave you to boil gently in your self-made hell 
To disintegrate into bitterness 
Leaving a polite neat shell 
Which I hope the observers will intuit 
Conceals a black hole 
 

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