Dr. William A. Cook Cook's World of Polemics, Poetry and Plays Updated: July 2023
Dr. William A. CookCook's World of Polemics, Poetry and Plays Updated: July 2023

Psalms for the 21st Century

The roots that bind

Happy are the people
           Who act as their own guide,
           Who tread their own path,
           Who sit among their friends,
           For the laws for their life will evolve
From mediating on this relationship,
           Night and day;
The roots that bind will be seen
           And flow like rivers beneath all
           And give life to all;
           Out of which comes the fruit,
           Each in its own season,
That nourishes both the earth and
           All humankind.
Not all are like this for they
           Follow deceitful voices
           Or walk in wayward steps,
So when judgment calls, they cry
Innocence and beg forgiveness
Laying blame at another's feet.

All belongs to all

Why are nations in turmoil?

Why do people conspire against each other?
           Earthly Princes and Premiers and Presidents
           Conspire together against their people,
           And turn away from that which binds them.
"Let us chain the people in debt
           And exploit them to do our bidding," they cry.
The Oneness which resides all about them,
           And is one with all, weeps at their crimes;
And Oneness calls to them in compassion
           And holds out her arms in supplication.
To all she says, "I have enthroned each
           Of you in my holy earth as divine
           And I call upon you to witness this decree.
You are me and I am you, we are father and son,
Mother and daughter, and we are one.
           Ask of me what you will
           And you ask it of yourself,

For you are the giver of the inheritance
           And the receiver, for all belongs
           To all; what is, is your possession.
You shall join your brothers and your sisters,
           In love shall you join them,
For you will know that life is short,
           And Princes and all Powers, like People,
           Have but a moment in time
To worship each other, while trembling
           Before the finality of existence;
For as the Oneness loves you, you shall love
           All who are of the Oneness,
And find refuge in the awareness.

You can bring me salvation

My friends, to you I call in supplication
           To save me and deliver me
           From those who would do me harm;
But I call to you as well, my friends,
           To save me from my anger
           Lest it be used against another
And I, like a raging lion, tear my foe
Without mercy, compassion or forgiveness.

For if I have acted so against my brother or sister,
If there be such iniquity in my hands,
If I have turned against my friend,
           I am no longer one with all
And I have forgone justice and peace
To take abode in my heart of darkness.

You alone, my friends, can bring me salvation
By restoring me to the world's community,
           For in you is all compassion,
           And hope, and love, and peace.
Your love alone can save me from being trampled,
And my honor dragged through the dust.

Arise, my friends, not in anger:
Do not unleash your fury against your fellows,
           Do not oppress your own,
           Do not lay judgment on the innocent,
For you alone can bring peace to all
By recognizing that all are one and equal,
And all have the right to share the glories
           Of the earth and the heavens.

Know, my friends, that there is not one
Who resides above all, who judges all
Nor is there a people chosen above all;
We are the one,
           We are the friends,
We are the reason and the meaning of life;
We are its fruition and its sustainers,
           Now and forevermore.

Let no God become a shield for anyone
To justify wickedness in the name
           Of righteousness;
Let no one claim judgment over another,
And use them as missiles against his enemy,
           For there is no righteous God
           Who would inflict His wrath
           On those whom He created,
Nor promise salvation to those who destroy.
For we are the God and we are the salvation,
And in us is peace and reconciliation.

Where do we turn for salvation?

The fool says in his heart, "There is a God,"
       For he cannot see nor know a God.
The fool calls out, "Heed my god
       Lest He cast you into Hell's fire,"
For he cannot assuage his doubt without fear.
The fool cries, "God looks down from heaven
       And sees no good, only evil,"
For he cannot force his will without consequence.
The fool declares, "God has spoken. The fool 
       Speaks for me, worship him in my name,"
For he can have no place without the word of God.

Consider now who has done us evil in the name of the Lord;
       Who devours the people?
       Who makes us tremble?
       Who is the oppressor?
       Who turns us against our fellows?
Where do we turn for our salvation?
Where is the peace that passeth understanding?
Where but in our hearts that finds love in our brother!
Let us rejoice and be glad that we have found each other.

Preserve me from everlasting fear

Preserve me, my friends, lest I flee from you,
And seek my refuge among some gods who
Dwell and command in some foreign land.
How wonderful these gods are made to appear:
       Wondrous in their glory!
       Protectors against our enemy!
       Jubilant in their mercy!
       Triumphant through all eternity!
And all we must do to gain our inheritance,
       Sip the cup of everlasting life,
       Attain to understanding,
Is to resign ourselves to their judgment,
Forgo our own, and live in everlasting fear.

We are multiple and desirable

I love you, my friends, for you are my strength,

You are the foundation upon which I stand
       And upon which I build.
In you I find safety, succor, and salvation;
For you are worthy of all praise when you
       Unite all across the earth.

Let me call upon you now, for I fear death;
       I see it in torrents of iniquity all about me,
       I see it in threats from those who surround me,
       I see it in the tears of those who fear me,
       I see it in the mysteries that surge within me,
And you, my friends, you can allay all,
For we are bound together in this place and time
Where we must endure mysteries and tears,
Threats and iniquities, during life and unto death.
This you know and can impart to me,
       And in your comfort, I will be free.

Don't let me look upon the earth when it
       Shakes and trembles,
When the very foundations quake and threaten,
When smoke arises from its mouth and spews forth
       The blood of consuming fire,
When the heavens heave with shrouds of death
       Sending a pall of darkness over the sun,
When wa ters rise like cliffs and crash
       Against the shores,
When twisted spirals spin along the earth
       Upending all in their path,
Don't let me see an angry God venting His rage
Upon His distraught creatures who cringe
       Before His almighty anger.
Don't let me see this righteous God speak
       Through thunder to His chosen and
       Punish detractors with destruction,
As though, in the nature of things, there is
Some force that governs all and to Whom
       We must bend, for it is not so.

You, my friends, have requited me according to my justice,
       Because I have honored you
       Respected you, dignified you,
And saw in you, myself, and found in you, myself,
And we are one, in all things to be equal,
Though not equal in all things, as it should be.

Like the flowers of the field, we are multiple,
       And beautiful, and unique, and desirable,
Yet we are one, as the scene is one, more blessed
In its spirit which can be received by all,
Than in its matter which, ultimately in time,
       Dissolves into the spirit.

Thus will we reward each other according
       To our justice toward each other.
Thus will we recognize each other according
       To the mercy we show each other.
Thus will we sanctify each other according
       To the love we impart to each other.

In justice, mercy, and love we transform
       Ourselves and become like beacons
To light the world ridding it of the darkness
       Of deceit,
       Of false belief,
       Of predators of fear;
Thus do we become a protective shield
Against anger, jealousy, envy, and hate.

I look about the world and see God in you,
       For there can be no other.
You have sustained me as I have you,
       And your caring has made me great.

You have opened the door for me
       That I might enter the households
       Of all who live upon the earth;
       That I might sit at their table
       And offer thanksgiving with them;
       That I might drink a toast to their kindness
       To bless the dignity with which they received me.

In this sharing we have overcome the fears
That blossom in the vase of ignorance,
And the jealousies that arise with misperception.

You have girt me with circlets of understanding,
And cloaked me in the robes of tolerance.
You have encircled me with the laughter of friends,
And laid before me the road to happiness.
From the warmth of homes has come warmth
       Of hearts and fullness of spirit.
In this harmony we find joy in each other
And fill the air with choral song.

You have delivered me from the contentions of people
By bringing me into the fold of the world's family.
I am one now with those I did not know,
And feel now the depth of their soul.
We are no longer strangers in borders,
But friends who share the land and the sea.

I know now that to inflict pain on another
       Is to inflict pain on myself,
       To insult another is to mock myself,
       To find fault with another
       Is to find fault with myself.

I seek now no vengeance, for it accomplishes no end,
I sow no anger, for it destroys only me,
I harvest no envy, for it decays my heart,
I crave no retaliation, for it turns on itself.
I desire no crown that would set me apart,
       For it achieves no end but separation.

These things I have learned at your knee,
And I sing praises to you who have made me
       One with all nations under the sun.

We are the power and the glory

The earth and all its fruits is ours to share
       With all who dwell upon it.
It is ours to nourish and sustain that our
       Children may live in happiness.

Let us climb to the mountaintops that we may see
       The glories of the earth and the bounty thereof.
Let those who are pure and generous of heart
       Lead us in providing for all in need;
Let those who are strong lift the burdens from the weak
       That they may rest and be renewed in spirit;
Let those who understand bring solace to those who fear
       That they might find comfort and peace of mind.
Let us seek those who befriend their neighbor, and bless them,
       For they bring peace to our world!

Lift your eyes to your friends, bow before them;
Lift your voice in praise, celebrate their presence;
Lift your heart in admiration, acknowledge their dignity;
Lift your mind in recognition, rejoice in their diversity;
Lift your spirit in veneration, respect their existence.
For we are the power and the glory that gives
Meaning and purpose to all that lives and thrives
       Upon the earth!

We are no longer strangers

I proclaim to you, my friends, what you have proclaimed to me:
       We are no longer strangers in a strange land.
       There are no longer borders that seal us off
               From our brothers and sisters.
       There are no longer churches that exclude a friend
               From the unity that blesses all.
       There are no longer peoples to enslave who
               Become the chattel of another's greed.
       There are no longer races that harbor hatred
               Against others who inhabit this earth.
       There are no longer nations that reign superior
               Over those weak and smaller.
       There are no longer doctrines that confound
               With mystery and authority those
               Who cannot understand.
       There are no longer beliefs that offer salvation
               Only to the chosen, and damnation
               To those not of the elect.
       There can be no absolute duality
               That builds a wall between you and me.
       There can be no enmity within our family;
               There can only be love and harmony.

Unity binds all earth's divines

Rejoice in the wonders of those who came before:
       Sing praises to their will and their endurance,
       Extol their monuments that proclaim our divinity,
               And express the virtues of our being.
In them we see the spirit of humankind and its potential,
For in them we are united in Oneness with our forefathers
       And through them with those yet to come.

At Ur and saqqara, Giza and Knossos,
At Anyang and Zhengzhou, Boghazkoy and Yazilikaya,
       Their glory remains, their spirit endures,
Their search continues in our search for them.
In pain and suffering, in dream and desire even
       The lowliest of those who went before
               Are manifest in stone.

In stories repeated over eons of time,
In cities lost beneath sweeps of sand,
In temples buried in forest and swamp,
In shrines sunk below the waters of the sea

We see ourselves mirrored in quest and journey,
A legacy and testament to the unity of being.

Let us give praise to our fathers and mothers
Whose gifts we bare, whose memories we inherit,
That we may pass to our children and they to theirs
       The dreams that give hope,
       The testaments that give expression,
       The monuments that manifest,
       And the will that endures.
In this we find the unity that binds all earth's divines.

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