Monday, 13 June 2011


Freedom’s such a fragile gift,
Bought dearly with copious blood
Of guileless youth, too young by far
To fully comprehend
The irredeemable finality of death.

It’s tragic when we know so much,
Can access with an on-screen touch
The truth of how we came to be
Yet, neither you, nor me, or anybody else,
Knows how to counter the insanity
Of the fundamental wish to subjugate us all.

How may we strive to win
This crazy contest for control?
Born from religion’s dread desire
To dominate the world.
How shall we reasonably explain
To our betrayed and unborn young
Our failure to confront this
Life denying vision of a world
Controlled by bigotry and fear?

How might we one day, finally persuade
Those who love death, to cast aside their
Terrifying certainty of faith,
And finally, embrace the freedom
Which can only come from doubt?

©James Rainsford 2011

Posted as my contribution to Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. In view of recent terrible events in Nairobi and Pakistan I thought this deserved a new posting.

Note to readers: This was written in response to the terrible atrocities committed due to the deluded and insane belief of some, that they know the mind of God.
Your views are very welcome and I'll try to respond to all who leave a comment. Please click on the comments tab below to have your say. Peace to all who visit here. James.


  1. Wow, I really like how powerful this poem is, but at the same time how its criticism is almost gentle. It's not offensive, it merely attempts to make others realize that you can't know everything and nothing justifies death. Nice job.

  2. James, this one really hits home with me. I have been blessed to have been raised in a family that has allowed me to explore all facits of organized religion, and my Christian Father actually respects most of my more "pagan"~like views. We have grand discussions about the origins of our being, where we're going to go when we're gone...You can imagine! The most frustrating thing is how little organized religion has evolved in relation to the way we as a species have evolved, and how many of us are turning back to the more earth based and ancient traditions as we seek connection with "source". Every mind, every thought, every action, comes through this source, for better or for worse, and that judgement, of course is based on the views and opinions of the one who happens to be perceiving it. In the name of humanity, we are ALL worthy...each and every one. Oh my...I've turned YOUR space into MY terribly easy to go all preachy, no pun intended! Another wonderful and compelling write, that will have me talking long after I hit "post comment"! :)

  3. God must weep at the atrocities committed in his name. Well done. Tigerbrite

  4. enjoy freedom beyond reality.
    lovely spirits.
    well done.

  5. Yep religion and greed, bring on war more than anything elses lead. Some nut supposedly acting in God's name or seeking fame, can cause the smallest plight and over night, off to war we go, while the bigwigs sit on high reaping what the ones dying sow.

    One should have belief and respect others beliefs, but religion just encompasses more of a cultness to it, by stubborn people unable to change with the times. Saying they are right and anyone who believes otherwise is wrong or twisting words to fit into their so called faith one moment and twisting them back the next. Erupting two sides and what the pic represents comes to be. Nice write, made me not even rhyme..haha

  6. James, this is so strongly penned and so well expressed, I felt the urgency through the words you used and placed artfully. How much we think we know and how foolish we really are to be playing with wars and bombs like children's toys. I have a passion for poetry and strength like yours, this is all I want to read in a poem and so much more. Thank you for sharing

  7. religeon as with many things when taken to extreme become scary vehicles of pain...and wanting to believe people follow blindly along until the bitter end...great write james...

  8. Anything can become evil when it's used to manipulate and control. I grew up in the church, so I know the damage that can be done by religion. But, to me, religion and God are not the same thing, though they do often get lumped together. I think religion helps people feel they can contain God, which is impossible. On a side note, that picture is pretty amazing as well as this piece :)

  9. Well said James. Religion, the oldest scam in the book, has much to answer for. It is so sad and ironic that it's only those outside of it that can see the truth and the falsehoods, and that those embroiled within and brainwashed by, their misguided faith, will not see.

  10. What happened to being responsible for one's actions?

  11. I so often feel this, that we are losing to a tide of ignorance, self-justifying hate and fear, everything our generation, and previous ones, fought so hard for. I don't blame god, or the love and support people who can believe in that get, but I do blame the humans who push religion like a dealer pushes drugs. Strong, extremely perceptive piece.

  12. Well said James...Lets hope common sense prevails...Thank you for sharing such well thought out write...

  13. I really liked this, but I can't help but believe when "religion" hurts and kills it really isn't faith in God (or a God) but just pure self love, greed and desire for power. Very nicely done.

  14. I enjoyed the gentleness and clear form of this poem, even though I did not agree with all the content. I have learned it's fine to disagree as long as we do it with respect and tolerance. Thanks for sharing James!

  15. Thought provoking in the extreme... and many valid points made.

  16. You said it well. Freedom might mean something else to fundementalists and they are free to think what ever they like, but that doesn't mean it gives them the right to destruct others. And as a grandma in the making, I was moved by your phrase about unborn young.

  17. Wow!! That picture took my breath away! That is scary stuff...

    And you know just which questions to ask, to shakes all your readers up.

  18. Powerful and terrifying stuff.

  19. AMEN! Preach it, brother James! The Church of the Doubtful! Now I could get with that one!

  20. Powerful poem the images just increased the impact. I do not believe peace can ever be accomplished through violent means. I have an old poem on my blog Stigmata that talks about religious wars too

  21. amazing thoughts.
    Thanks for linking to poets rally.


  22. You speak truth, brother.

    Keep doing it.


  23. GLad to visit your blog sir...wonderful write...Thanks for share...

  24. I love the title and the idea of freedom from doubt a lot to think about

  25. nice expression, powerful
    Enjoyed reading your work
    Best wishes.

  26. Swinging by to read again...there's not critique from me my friend! Love as much as I did my first visit! :)

  27. Hello James—

    You have certainly taken on a huge topic here with your well-penned poem about the cost of freedom and humanity’s continued lack of understanding over this profoundly sad situation, which repeats itself through the ages in every corner of our world. Truly an atrocity.

    I would drop the Caps at the beginning of each line as they interfere with the flow of the poem (IMHO).

    I would also strip out some of the superfluous words that are not adding anything of value to the poem, such as; and, of, to, this, it’s… I think that would strengthen the piece.

    Perhaps something like this: (please feel free to disregard these suggestions, if they don’t work for you)

    a fragile gift,
    bought with copious blood
    guileless youth, too young
    to comprehend
    irredeemable finality
    of death.

    tragic, we know so much,
    access with an on-screen touch
    truth of how we came to be
    yet, neither you, nor me,
    knows how to counter the insanity
    the fundamental wish
    to subjugate us all.

    we strive to win
    crazy contest for control
    born from religion’s dread desire
    dominate the world.
    how shall we explain
    to our betrayed and unborn young
    our failure to confront this
    life denying vision
    controlled by bigotry
    and fear?

    how might we
    finally persuade
    those who love death,
    to cast aside
    terrifying certainty of faith,
    finally, embrace the freedom
    which can only come from doubt?

    Your last stanza for me is absolutely brilliant. Would love to see it printed in text books around the globe. Exceptionally well stated. Bravo! I really enjoyed this. Thanks for linking up.

  28. Hi James

    Big topic and you tackled it head on without ambiguity or doubt - brave and assertive
    Poetic and powerful.

    I love your last line - because it appears to be , at first glance a resolute end to a resolute poem - but a closer look reveals that a freedom paradigm is a shakey constuct-and perhaps throws the certainty of the piece off balance.

    That said - i may just lack your certainty and be imposing my wobbly imagination. If so forgive me.

    At which point i shall cease to litter your comments box with my speculative nonsense.

    I really liked your poem -

  29. Excellent. This is a topic that comes up often in my conversations with my friends. When did it all go extreme? Or was it always there being ignored, soaking up our freedom, threatening to swoop in and begin a new round of Inquisitions? This coupled with the omnipresent fears seem to define this particular time. Brilliant write.

  30. the freedom that can only come from doubt....that is a great ending to this write one much to think about...thank you..bkm

  31. James...I'll not write an essay this time, but I will say, this is so perfect for our prompt, for starting conversations, for promoting is one to evolve when they insist on clinging to archaic fear mongering dogma..whoops...I can feel the rant coming! Thanks so much for joining in with this fantastic, thought provoking write! :)

  32. A very thought-provoking poem, very well written. There is a philosopher in Germany that claims that we (in the western world) are experiencing " Spätrömische Dekadenz", which can be translated to "Late Roman Decadence". Without aligning myself with or against any religion implied in the poem (as I am Buddhist, as a philosopher, and believe in universal ethics and tolerance), the western (Christian) society has done all this ... the Inquisition of the 12th century ...

  33. This is so right for this prompt. We are a world fighting over our separate philosophies excusing our atrocities with our holy wars in our God's name.


If you wish your views and opinions to be published here, please be polite and respectful. I welcome feedback on my work and will try to respond if you take the trouble to post a comment. Thanks for visiting 'The Sanctum of Sanity.' Hope you enjoyed the experience, James.