Unanswerable Questions

Almighty God, when you condemn,
shall you convict the innocent?
Shall all your wrath rain down on them
when you mete out our punishment?

The infants dashed upon the rocks
as recompense paid to their kin:
Were they not lambs within your flock?
What was the nature of their sin?

All Sodom's wives and daughters, too:
Were they not worthy of your grace
for what their menfolk met to do?
Did not your likeness wear your face?

So now, the spotless lambs cry out:
What has your perfect justice wrought?
If Lot could get his family out,
why not these others, O my God?

And he, most innocent of all,
most Spotless Lamb, could he not live?
He that is down need fear no fall,
unless the Fall is all there is.

My sin can kill those yet unborn,
and still you let me sin and sin.
Why leave the wretched world forlorn
to draw the wretched sinners in?

What, then?  Will you redeem the blood
that cries aloud from every stone?
Or shall it be the second flood,
condemning what the world has done

while all the rest of us ride high
upon the crossbeam of the ark?
How long, O Lord?  And why?  Say why
you sit in silence, in the dark.
Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, tempera and varnish on cardboard, 1929-30, High Museum of Art, By Henry Ossawa Tanner – High Museum of Art, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28838167

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