An Ode to THE FOOL

An Ode to The FOOL

In the fall of 1992 I wrote this “ode” and on September 15, of that year I mailed it to a few selected friends asking them not to publish it.  Sometime in July, 2013, a copy was returned to me by an anonymous source.  With minor editing I post it here for whatever others may learn from it as a testimony of my faith at the time it was written.  The lines in parenthesis are human judgments on the ways of the God of the Bible and Jesus, who are the  wise  “FOOLS” in this ode.   – Martin Lehman

I

A kings court was meant to be a place for solemn reckoning of justice
where men of stern countenances decided final fate of others
while pondering policies of state.

A court’s stale air required a fool
who by his knavery could cause lords and ladies to laugh
and lighten the face of the King with a smile.

At times the fool, the lowliest, but wisest of them all,
by jest spoke truth unspoken by others for fear of decapitation
like John the Baptist.

By sly humor the wise fool saved the King
who being but a fool was about to foolishly fritter
away the kingdom.

II

I am a king of small domain and free therein to be a fool.
I don’t deny it, I am a fool.

In my court is one better than I,
braver than I,
more affectionate than I,
more humorous than I,
and in wisdom, wiser than I.

This FOOL displays
a wisdom so wise as to appear foolish,
a strength so strong as to seem weak,
and a love so steadfast as to be absurd.

There is no greater FOOL
than this incredible FOOL
who is fool enough to love me!

The simple will understand and not be offended.

III

Learned fools say the universe began with a Big Bang
but the FOOL smiles and whispers to me
that it was more than a Big Bang;
it was a Word.

Only the FOOL could stand the sound
and make out its meaning;
the FOOL was there, and knows!

The FOOL knew the Big Bang Word would create an earth
with hurricanes, floods, droughts, viruses, earthquakes,
and the Snake to come.

(Everyone knows that only fools court disasters.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to bang the Big Word out anyway.

I love the FOOL for the FOOL loves me.

IV

The FOOL stooped to shape some dust
and kneeled to breathe the Breath of Life.
And of the dust made male and female
molded in the image of God
and free to be fools.

(Every one knows it is best to control one’s creation, retaining the right of manipulation, denying the freedom to do wrong.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to breathe life in fools,
anyway!

I love the FOOL for the FOOL loves me.

V

The fools ate forbidden fruit,
and shamed, feared the death
they deserved.

(Everyone know it is best to quickly end a foolish experiment gone wrong.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to delay death,
and let the fools go free
to procreate their kind,
anyway!

I love the FOOL for the FOOL loves me.

VI

The first son,
jealous of his younger brother,
in anger struck him and killed him.
“Whoever finds me will kill me,” cried the killer.

(Everyone knows a killer should be killed to deter killing.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to protect the Killer by a mark for life,
anyway!

I love the FOOL for the FOOL loves me!

VII

The FOOL knew of evil years to come
with the tower of Babel,
Jacob’s deceit,
Pharaoh’s treachery,
David’s wars and the affair with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah,
Jezebel’s idolatry and Ahab’s folly,
stoned prophets,
and a futile law unable to manage weakness.

(Everyone knows failure should be owned and the earth cleansed of all evil.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to save Noah and his family by ark,
anyway!

I love the FOOL and the FOOL loves me.

VIII

The FOOL became flesh
and was led by the Spirit to a wilderness
where a liar tempted the FOOL
to use his power to make bread from stones,
to prove deity by rescue from a fall,
to gain control of the World in one painless moment
of self actualization and fulfillment.

(Everyone knows the quick, and easy way to power and glory is the best way.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to deny himself
and take deity’s slow, painful way,
anyway!

 I love the FOOL and the FOOL loves me.

IX

The FOOL
preached Good News to the poor,
proclaimed freedom to prisoners,
gave sight to the blind,
relieved the oppressed,
heralded the year of Jubilee,
offended rulers.

 (Everyone knows it is better to save one’s life than to lose it.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL,
and always the FOOL
dared to offend,
anyway!

I love the FOOL for the FOOL loves me.

X

The FOOL
touched lepers and dead bodies,
talked with a Samaritan woman by Jacob”s well,
accepted an invitation to eat with publicans and sinners
in the house of  Levi the tax collector,
allowed a prostitute to wash his feet with her tears
in the home of Simon, the Pharisee,
did the work of God by forgiving sins, publicly,
healed a withered hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath Day.

(Everyone know lines are needed to keep one pure, and safe.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to cross lines,
anyway!

I love the FOOL,  for the FOOL loves me.

  XI

The FOOL said:
love your enemies,
turn the cheek when they strike you,
give food to them, pray for them,
forgive them, bless them,
love them, resist not!

(Everyone knows an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is justice done.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dares us to return good for evil,
anyway!

I love the FOOL for the FOOL loves me.

XII

The FOOL was declared by rulers
to be a traitor to race and nation,
a violator of tradition and religion,
a blasphemer, the embodiment of the evil one,
a law breaker, and a deranged man worthy of death.

So at night they came with clubs and spears
under orders to arrest him
when betrayed by a kiss.

(Everyone knows swords must clash if freedom be preserved and justice done.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the Fool
dared to put the sword in its sheath,
anyway!

I love the FOOL for the FOOL loves me.

XIII

They bound the FOOL,
lied about him, scourged him,
spit on his face, pulled his beard,
put a purple robe on him,
crowned him with thorns and mocked him.
They led him away bearing his cross,
and crucified him.

(Everyone knows death on a cross is the worst curse and the final defeat.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to take up his cross and die,
anyway!

I love the FOOL for the FOOL loves me.

XIV

The FOOL
gave the preaching of the Cross-Way
to a few unlearned men and unnamed women.

(Everyone knew such a church must fail.)

But the FOOL
being the FOOL
and always the FOOL
dared to choose the weak way,
anyway!

I love the FOOL,  for the FOOL loves me.

XV

The FOOL
knows the message of the cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing,
but to those who are being saved it is the power of God
and the wisdom of God.

The FOOLishness of God is wiser than human wisdom
and the weakness of God is stronger that human strength.

(Everyone knows they are sinners, unworthy.)

For such a FOOL
we are counted fools,
and dare to live,
and die,
anyway!

I praise the FOOL for the FOOL loves me!

3 Responses to An Ode to THE FOOL

  1. Raymond Martin says:

    I heard you preach a fool sermon a long time ago so I had some idea of it’s meaning but this poem tells it really well. I heard one person really turned off by your title and I was able to give some interpretation but I didn’t feel I did it well enough. This helps.

    I have a question about this:
    “The FOOL knew of evil years to come
    with the tower of Babel,
    Jacob’s deceit,
    Pharaoh’s treachery,
    David’s wars and the affair with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah,
    Jezebel’s idolatry and Ahab’s folly,
    stoned prophets,
    and a futile law unable to manage weakness.”

    If the FOOL knew all these things before the little fools pulled these tricks, how much human freedom do they really have? What am I missing?

    • Little fools in the FOOL’s image experience the evidence of climate change and “know” that it will happen if generations to come don’t change their ways, yet they keep having babies, anyway. Raymond, You asked a good question and thanks for your help.

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