Saturday, October 27, 2012
We are a bible nation. History, literature, politics for better and worse steeped in the good book. Amazing how white Europeans adopted a dark Palestinian, and brought him on over to the New World.
Blame it on the Greeks.
Just for the record: "wine dark sea," Homer, of course. "…and they shall take up serpents," Mark 16:18. Of which more later.
I learned about the sound of snakes breathing on NPR. An intrepid woman traveler woke to the sound in her ear.
Here's the sound
of a snake
Teeth and lips and breath
A serpent hangs from a branch
and strains toward Eve
she freezes at the sound
the original is originated
until blood is shed for us
Or so the story goes.
white - what else,
pure of heart and miserable
over the wine dark
in mind if not heart,
and a dark skinned God
Hallowed be thy name
and they shall take up serpents
breath hiss and rattle.
a catholic - a "stranger" - with his cross-hung god
came over with family
on the boat Mayflower
along with the "separatists,"
and their invisible deity.
John's son found the company's cache of powder
tried to blow the Mayflower out of the water
his solitary plot fizzled
but young Billington
never saw another
A few years later:
John Billington the senior, hot tempered, shot John Newcomen - a new comer
Shot him in the woods
Shot him dead
It was the colony's first murder.
John Billington hanged for his crime
it was the colony's first hanging.
He was a "troublemaking murderer, a knave, and a scoundrel,"
or so said the Governor
"he was beloved of many,"
said his neighbor.
Eleanor Billington, John's sad, hot tempered wife
loudly and publicly slandered a neighbor
and was locked in the stocks
their hot blooded daughter,
was found out
and shamefully whipped.
Pity the poor Billingtons -
breath hiss and rattle.
This is the Story of John Billington
John Billington and his family dear
Came over here on the Mayflower
During the voyage his fine young son
Tried to blow that boat to kingdom come.
John Billington in a white hot rage
Let bloody murder out of its cage
Shot Newcomen in the woods so drear
Was hanged for the crime and died in fear.
John Billington had a wife named El
With a mouth as rank as the pits of hell
She was locked in the stocks and whipped one morn
For fouling the air with contempt and scorn.
John Billington's daughter, aged twenty-two
Had no use for church or prayer or school
But would lift her skirt and play with the boys
And one day was whipped for her sordid joys.
Let's drink to the mem'ry of John Billington
His wife, and his daughter, and his fine young son
Let's drink to the town-folk righteous and pure
And drink to the ship that brought them here.
Here's the Troubadour's take on the Mayflower.
Bob Dylan's 115th Dream