Poetry as Theological Projection

I’m protestant: Bapticostal and Reformed, and the God I worship would give Geoff Page a stroke. Because this is projection. He is seeing his mother as God, or the God his mothe sees as relating to the culture she has.

Which is plain, hard, and at times overly self righteous. I’d rather be weeping with the papists.

Because this lacks the mercy and love God has. One wonders what Page made of his father. For the God he imagines of his mother is nothing more than hatred called theology.

If this is the best of Australian Poets, no wonder the place has gone pagan.

My Mother’s God

My mother’s God
has written the best
of the protestant proverbs:

you make the bed
you lie in it;
God helps him

who helps himself.
He tends to shy away from churches,
is more to be found in

phone calls to daughters
or rain clouds over rusty grass.
The Catholics

have got him wrong entirely:
too much waving the arms about,
the incense and caftan, that rainbow light.

He’s leaner than that,
lean as a pair of
grocer’s scales,

hard as a hammer at cattle sales
the third and final
time of asking.

His face is most clear
in a scrubbed wooden table
or deep in the shine of a

laminex bench.
He’s also observed at weddings and funerals
by strict invitation, not knowing quite

which side to sit on.
His second book, my mother says,
is often now too well received;

the first is where the centre is,
tooth for claw and eye for tooth
whoever tried the other cheek?

Well, Christ maybe,
but that’s another story.
God, like her, by dint of coursework

has a further degree in predestination.
Immortal, omniscient, no doubt of that,
he nevertheless keeps regular hours

and wipes his feet clean on the mat,
is not to be seen at three in the morning.
His portrait done in a vigorous charcoal

is fixed on the inner
curve of her forehead.
Omnipotent there

in broad black strokes
he does not move.
It is not easy, she’d confess,

to be my mother’s God.

Geoff Page

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8 months ago

Not sure I see your interpretation. I’d say that Page has tried to rewrite Gods of the Copybook Headings, but without Kipling’s talent and with less insight.

Thats harsh and accurate