Wednesday, 5 April 2017

NaPoWriMo Day 5 - They Danced, They Died. Hallelujah! I'm No Dancer.

For day five of National Poetry Writing month one of the prompts was based around a tragedy that took place in Boston in 1925.  The ceiling of a dance club collapsed and forty-four people died.  I wrote a not very good poem before getting out this morning in which someone is pleased to see God's will being done.  Reading later I found that there were preachers who had said such things - just as there are preachers after every tragedy talking about God's will.  It's awful that some have such a view of a God who is meant to be love.

And then I happened upon a long hymn.  And realised it is in a book that still adorns my shelves.  I wrote this before rushing out of the house to go and write some more:

In my Catholic days I was a big fan of Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Monfort, author of True Devotion to Mary, Secret of the Rosary, and many other works. I made the act of total consecration according to his way of doing things. I hold very different beliefs now but still have his complete works on my shelves, books that are a part of my history.

I wrote the following lines this morning and then looked up to see if anyone actually said things like this. There were Christians of the day denouncing jazz. Of course there were, and evangelicalism and fundamentalism were on the rise in the US. The papers and tracts called “The Fundamentals” from where we get the word fundamentalism were published the previous decade. In my fundamentalist Protestant days I owned them too.

I quickly found a hymn by Louis-Marie, reproduced on a Catholic forum I used to be an part of. No, you can't have my forum name! Here's the penultimate verse of his poetry:

God often severely punishes
Dancers with sudden death,
In a moment vomiting
Their accursed souls.
From balls and games,
Suddenly they fall into hell.

The full thirty-eight verse song can be found at

Yeah, I'm God obsessed. Give me another ten years and I might have worked the scars of my versions of faith out of my flesh.

I'm not sure Louis-Marie would be very impressed by the music and dance events held at St. Dominic's RC Church centre in Newcastle. I'm not impressed by these lines. Head struggling again so I've constrained myself to 5 syllable lines for no apparent reason!

Today I will dance
With King David's joy.
Yahweh has spoken.

My God has judged them.
They will dance no more
To vulgarity of jazz.

Love of the Charleston
Sent them all to hell
Crushed by sinfulness.

God damned the Pickwick.
Judgement on evil:
Swift, sure, certainty.

And I watched, laughing
As he completed
Purifying work.

Forty-four lay crushed
Their unrolled stockings
Testified to guilt.

They writhed. Bodies
Serpent contorted.

Righteousness triumphs.
Their flesh is broken
As hearts never were.

God granted them grace
Warned them fair by fire.
They wouldn't listen.

Three months to turn back
From their speakeasy
To God's easy speech.

Their fault. Their deaths, just
Like the club ceiling,
Are on their own heads.

I never entered
What man could resist
Dancing straight to Hell?

Fallen to foul sex
Short skirts can only
Be temptation.

One step through the door
One sight of woman,
Her flesh uncovered

Would surely wrest me
From the bosom
Of my sweet Mary.

Jesus has spoken.
Please, will you listen?
He calls you to life.

Live in repentance:
His holiness makes
America great again.

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