Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A PASSING OF FAITH, by GORDON BOTTOMLEY



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A PASSING OF FAITH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Nilus's gods, lost wanderers
Last Line: And, ere they know it, no more exist.
Subject(s): Faith; Belief; Creed


NILUS'S gods, lost wanderers,
Had from their smitten temples fled;
Gods live but in their worshippers,
And all their worshippers were dead.

So bull-browed Set strode into Hell:
Hell cried "Ay, art thou dead, even thou?
What God slew Death we dead can tell:
Come on, old Midnight, with us bow."

"By God" quoth he, "I'll lick no dust,
Even where divinity hath trod:
Howe'er for worship He may lust,
I too, even I, was born a god.

"By God, I say, we gods are wroth.
Ho! Ptah, and Bast thou lewd-limbed griper,
Where is Osiris, where is Thoth,
And crafty Apap that ancient viper?

"Still we our immemorial hates --
Our craft of godhead is assailed.
Hasten, ye trampling host of Fates;
If this God slew me I am not quelled.

"By God" he mouthed, and spat at the oath,
And heaved a shoulder Atlas-wise,
"I say we gods are leaping-wroth:
Come thou and help, hoar god of flies."

The dead folk laughed unpityingly
"Thou fangless senile Death that died,
Thou maundering epitome
Of mummied Egypt's dusty pride,

"No longer adoration's breath
Smells hot within thy nostrils wide:
Ah, moribund panting deep for faith,
Thou art a shade undeified.

"And death hath wrought its worst on God,
Wherefore thine eyes grow sere and dim;
Death gat, not gave, its period;
God's worshippers endure in Him."

His shape went sobbing down the wind,
Outstreaming like sun-tattered mist:
Unkingdomed gods no worship find,
And, ere they know it, no more exist.





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