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This poem is from the June 6, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was prompted and sponsored by Shirley Barrette.

WARNING: This poem is all about child molestation by clergy.


"Grapes of Thorns"


The priests in their prim robes
conceal grim secrets.

They rove the aisles
looking for bad girls,
the ones that nobody
is likely to listen to.

They touch, they fondle,
and they take by force
what is not offered freely.

They pick the green fruit
from the tender vine.

Then they open their black books
and preach, as if they had any idea
what they're talking about.

But maybe they do.

The Bible says, By their fruits
ye shall know them. Do men gather
grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

The Catholic Church covers up
the offenses against youthful innocence.

Perhaps, then, this is no more
than a reflection of what lies above:

abusive priests echoing deceitful leaders,
depraved followers obeying a toxic god.

And it's no wonder that they come together --
what abuser doesn't crave power and
the cruel blend of love and pain?

The god of the Bible is a bitter beast,
a ruthless father tormenting his own children,
Now look what you made me do
whispered in everything from
the Flood to the plagues.

By their fruits ye shall know them.

Beware the grapes of thorns
that sow the grapes of wrath.

* * *

Notes:

"By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
The Bible, American Standard Version, Matthew 7:16

The Catholic church is notorious for its priests abusing children, and then covering it up. This does tremendous damage.

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