Saturday, September 17, 2016

"A Guy Named Jesus"


Our staff is still busily preparing Volume One of the memoirs of Arnold Schnabel for publication as a book later this year, and so, in lieu of any new chapters at this time, we present again the following poem,  submitted by Arnold to "The Olney Times" in early March, 1963, just a couple of weeks before his release from the Byberry mental hospital in Philadelphia. (Republished with the kind "nihil obstat" of the Arnold Schnabel Society.)

“A Guy Named Jesus”

A guy named Jesus came to see me last night;
He opened my door and for a moment just stood there;
“Hello,” he said, then, shutting the door tight,
He came to my bed and pulled up a chair.

“My name is Jesus,” said He, and extended His hand;
I took it and shook it, His grip was warm and firm.
“So,” He said, “You’ve had some trouble, I’m led to understand.”
“Yes, it’s true,” I said, “For I am a lowly misbegotten worm.”

“Poppycock!” said He; “and by the way, may I smoke?”
“Dear Lord,” said I, “smoking’s not allowed in patients’ rooms.”
“But you forget,” said He, “’Tis I who make the rules! (Ha! a joke!)
But fear not, for there’s nothing like a butt to dissipate the glooms.”

And taking from His pouch a lighter and a pack of Pall Mall
He lit us both up and said, “I have come, you see, to set you free,
from your absurd travails, and your own self-made Hell.”
“I deserve only Hell,” I cried, “And free I deserve not to be!”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” He said with a winning grin,
“that is, of course: the Holy Ghost, My Father, and Me.
So stop this nonsense, for I want you to begin
that long journey home to Avenue Nedro and B.”

A guy named Jesus came to see me last night,
a simple Jewish carpenter smelling faintly of wood;
we talked until the first faint glimmerings of light,
and when He left I slept the sleep of the good.

(For links to other poems from Arnold Schnabel and to the serialization of his memoir Railroad Train to Heaven, go to the right hand column of this page.)

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