His Greatest Seal: Poems by the Rev. Francis Quintin-Arthur

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The Brain in Retrospect and Its Musings Philosophical on Miscellanea

Auxiliary Judge
1 + 1 = 2?
Free Will
Morbid Curiosity
The Miraculous Ophidian
Nemo Dat Quod Non Habet
Unequal Equals
The Strength of Humility
Destruction of Self


Are you by any chance
One of those people
Who somehow believe that
We don’t have much time?

We should think again.

When our God made time
He made a lot of it.
So I said to myself,
“Where is all the time?”
I looked behind me:
Some of my given time
Was being stolen away
By a well-known thief
Whom we have nicknamed

Auxiliary Judge

I think he’s wrong.
          You judge.
Indeed I know he’s wrong.
          You judge.
I judge not, but I say this:
He’s wrong.
          Now it is definite.
Why not before?
I judged not then?
Why “now”?
          So I change my mind.
          Now you judge.
Now you’re dead wrong.
          You keep supporting my theory.
          Now you judge for sure.
A second “now”—
you vacillate.
          I do.
          But you pronounced judgment.
I REPEAT judgment.
E.g., it is wrong to kill:
divine and common law.
I judge not.

1 + 1 = 2?

Seven children she bore
All have passed away—one after another
Manually she labors hard
All day for daily bread
And well-behaved is she
Humility her trait
And with a love fit for the skies
Yet in all the work she does
When the tally time arrives
And she gathers all that she has
They add up to the unexpected low
She knows not why this evaporation
Of all that she’s honestly labored for
What is amiss?
Too complex is this for me!
But then this dishonest man
Himself acknowledging to be such
In heat to climb up “success” ladder
Anyone he’d bash to satisfy his whims
Which sits not well with divine will
The seven children this man has
All fare well in mirth and in wealth
When this one adds up all he’s done
He does seem to have extra at hand
And smiles and laughs all day long
Jollying all the while with his fortune
And his children around him
And makes me want a question to pose
How she who’s to have more to spare
Has much less than he who’s to have less
Do I be like him to get ahead
Or be myself to get on high?

I have always wondered why
My teachers always said
1 + 1 = 2
I questioned who it was
Who came to such a point
In all my homework though
I always had to write
That 1 + 1 was 2

Much older now
It still seems not always so
That 1 + 1 = 2
For I have certain friends
Whose 1 + 1 is naught
I know other ones
Whose 1 + 1 is 3
So I conclude that
The only two places
Where 1 + 1 = 2
Are in the math books
And in our next abode
When our bells toll at last
And we experience true justice


Six days, Lord, six whole days
You could have done it in a second
Should you have chosen to
But who rushes you, Lord?
Or what need is there for you to rush?
This beauty would be no less
The sea would not contain less
The mountains would be no shorter
Man would still be the same
And the birds would sing the same songs
The rainbow would still glorious be
And the firmament tell of your might
All this you could have done
In the twinkling of an eye
But six days, Lord, you spent
To teach us to sort things out
And not do all things at once
To do them and do them well
For when the day arrives
Our accounts to make to you
We come before you, Lord
As Cain and Abel
May we bring our very best
And not what we have haphazardly done
In the course of our rush
May we present what does befit
The prime of your creation—our very best!

Free Will

How can we offer to God
Worthy praise if we do not will it?
How can we will it unless we have the will?
And how can we have the will
Unless it is given to us?
And how can we have this gift
And deny free will?

Morbid Curiosity

This snake
Be it a figment of imagination
Worming his way under the bushes
At times wandering from there
To seek warmth in the sun—
This particular viper
A venom posseses with potency
That would put hemlock to shame
Ten to one
For a brush with his forked fang
Is enough for such toxical stinging pain
That could result in death
In a few twinklings of an eye
To avoid this snake is recommended for health

Then a worm
A common worm
Writhing on the ground
Should his venom be compared to the hemlock’s
Nil to ten it is
Not threatening in the least
No defense a mere child needs
All can toy with this worm
Worm at the mercy of all weaklings
But the worm is no friend to this snake
Vice versa
The worm had better stay where he is
For this viper has no conscience
And would not discriminate
Anyone and anything it would bite any time

The worm does not even seem to know
Where he is crawling to
O pitiful worm!
Sport for kids!

Similarity between this worm and viper
Extremely striking
For the mere naked eye
Cannot differentiate
Between this strength and this weakness
They look just the same

To have been bitten by this viper
And lived to look on the worm
Is to be counted among the luckiest

To see some reptile
At rest or writhing
That looks like this viper
But could be the worm—maybe—
But in mere curiosity
To draw so very close
So as to determine which is which
Especially having been so very lucky once
Is to play Russian roulette
The wise will avoid
The stupid will investigate
And will have been thrice fooled
By a mere serpent
Once in Eden Garden, then twice by this snake
And may not look on a worm or a viper again
With his naked eyes

The Miraculous Ophidian

Should He who made all so wondrous well—
The same that is
Who the smooth-talking, double-tongued serpent made
In accordance with His wisdom unequalled—
Should He have that self-same sliding serpent created
But in this instance
This creeping creep chose not but must be mute
From morn to noon through night
Some—those who’d criticize anything—
Still fantastical will find the reverse:
That an ophidian with utterance so endowed
In Eden’s blooming botanical gardens
Should be tongue-tied in front of Eve

Nemo Dat Quod Non Habet

It is necessary for speakers to note
That when one rises to the occasion
Generally some people can tell
Whether speech is recited
Or spoken from the heart
Elocutionists should bear in mind
That when one sermonizes
Some listeners can duly discern
Whether he believes what he says or
Or he’s expressing another’s beliefs
Just for their loftiness

Many are deceived in that
They can fulfill others
While they are clandestinely empty

All should therefore be aware
That we cannot enrich others
While unfulfilled ourselves

So let us be undeceived
Before we make less of ourselves publicly
For none can ever give what he does not have
And God forbid there’s nil in us to give
For then we’d be as dead as death

Unequal Equals

Expedient it might be
A best friend to classify
One who upholds not
The same values you may have
But still beware!
For one would admire you
And would wish to be just like you—
Under your tutelage
In the course of his transformation
Your mind should very alert be
To place such student
In his rightful place
For when he thinks he’s your best friend
In thought and deed and word
Would attempt as an equal
To accentuate his young ideas
As green as they might be
For your necessary acceptance
And should you be obstinate
In disagreeing with him
And maintaining self-same wisdom
Which attracted him to you at first
He would classify you stubborn
And employ all his machinations
To try destroying same sapient notions
Same that fascinated him before
In negatively forceful ways—
For empty barrels by nature
Would create the loudest noise


The way to wisdom
The path to you and only to you
From birth we seek your ways
Responding to superior’s whims
“Obedientia non loquitur”

To stop is to raise a hand
And for silence, shush! and finger on mouth!
To listen is to be spared
Stubbornness produces more lashes
And preference for other child who obeys

May I be the other
Or, better, may we both be all ears
That we may learn your ways
Growing with your joys
Staying only in your path

And if from this way we digress
May it be only to come back to you
Never to abandon you
For that would be our loss

The Strength of Humility

I, made of steel
So strong
Cannot be destroyed
Unbelievably together
What of you?
This strong?
          Mere man
          Capacity to fall and rise
I can only rise
Cannot fail
Would not fall
You may
Not I

Stones thrown by third party. Stones of equal weight thrown at both test durability. Stones shatter both men. They fall and crumble.

Time out to rebuild self.           I can build myself up
          My Nature to fall and rise
          Admission of my frailty
          I rise
          Though falling again possible
          But nonetheless I rise
          And proceed
I cannot rebuild myself
I am shocked I can even talk
For I am crestfallen
Another Dr. Faustus?
Still a man
Mortal man
Steel much too difficult
To reconstruct
But since man is known to be frail
And falling is only natural
Then, frailty, take over!
          Monitor him very closely
          Or else you’ll fall whenever you please
          And that will be just as bad

Destruction of Self

Infringing upon the right of man
He sins against his brother
Destroying own self in process
For love lulls while hate hurts
But who really is he unkind to?
For God cannot be hurt
Changelessness His nature
So man sins against man
In truth against himself—
For himself is the man he hurts
And that’s price enough
For the just man receives comfort
Since the Lord is with him
But he that has hurt
Must set things right
Making amends for himself—
Self-redemption, that is
For God cannot change
We must, in order to be close to Him


That which did Judas in
“Radix malorum est cupiditas”
He had been with you for long
Since You picked him from the fold
He saw the wonders You made
He sat with You to eat
He had all he wanted
Since You were always with him
So where from came this greed
That so encompassed Judas, Lord,
Son of Simon Iscariot?

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