Between the tornadoes and the blossoming pears,nHard rock, hospitals, daycare centers, bombs.nWe sometimes, under stress, give way to prayersnOf gratitude or terror; but God numbsnUs to old visions and allows no new.nExcept computers, and, of course, TV,nBefore which we have knelt, as formerly wenWith more affection knelt, Lord Christ, to you.nTuring’s invention threatens to stop us coldnAnd flatten us to a shape we’ve never been.nOne-dimensional, binary, fixed in a moldnCompletely heartless, artless, and without sin,nNo further needing love or hands or facesnBut only one number each, which, though as longnAs Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, will be no song;nNo, but the small grist of the data bases.nIs it too late to ask, once more, for more?nOur West has closed its vast horizons down.nOur vertical space has been preempted for war:nThis is that Progress that turned country to town.nTown to a city, city to a slumnMore dismal than a bog. If we escapenNew Hiroshimas in the new Turing shape.nWill this then be the Kingdom that was to come?nComputers have no wishes, dreams, or fearsnEtched in their micro-circuits. We still do.nAnd in this interim before the yearsnBring us to mega-crimes without a cluenIn any intent of ours. Lord Christ, we restnOur case with you. Pity us here on the peaknOf our accomplishments, alienated, weak.nWho have exhausted the inexhaustible West.n1.n5.nOur duty was to remember—remember with love-nChristopher, the Christ-bearer; how he camenAttended by a great multitude, a cloud ofnMartyrs, witnesses, planting in God’s namenThe Red Cross here. Not having done that, wenYield memory to the computer, and forgetnOur lineage and our mission, though stars yetnAs Cross or Swan burn in the galaxy.n26/CHRONICLESnNown(In the bicentennial year of the American Constitution)nby Harold McCurdynnnStretched on the cross of secular affairs.nTaking no comfort in the Pentagon,nOr secret agents, or the stout-lunged playersnStrutting upon the stage in Washington,nWe sweat into the future. Denied escapenExcept by entrepreneurial makeshift hope.nOr Ouija board, or space voyages, or dope.nWe talk like parrots, chatter like an ape.nMeanwhile, Peacekeepers, multiple-headed, nestnIn desert burrows ready to be callednBy a red button imperatively pressednTo spread their dove wings under the Eagle’s sprawlednImperial rage, should the Great Bear resistnPure reason. Such the public rhetoric.nSecretly, the computers whir and clicknAnd weave inevitabilities as they list.nTheir empire, which begins by requiring usnTo copy account numbers on our checks, expandsnToward unimaginable limits. Pelagius,nFounder of this Republic, waves his handsnIn blessing over it. Who needs Mercy or Grace?nProgrammed, society will now fulfillnAll the hubris of the Pelagian will,nAnd, unbaptized, confront the Black Holes of Space.n6.n7.nIn truth, no one can know what no one knows.nBut Fear and Desire still struggle against loss.nAnd, should a nova flare, or a great rosenOf ice-light blazing round a parhelion CrossnUnfold above the Dew Line, hope might springnA second time in the all-too-human breast.nAnd a cry, tearing the death-veil from the West,nRing out, “Sing, children! Enter the Kingdom, and sing!’n10.nUntil such miracle, we of the WestnFocused on Me and Now, have little roomnFor tag-ends of the Holy, rags of the questnThat started in Jewry at an empty tombnAnd brought us, late, to a far cactus landnWhere deeper than the round-eyed burrowing owlnMX’s burrow, and the seismic growlnOf underground nuclear testing shakes the sand.n