Wedded in Belief Poem by Ward Kelley

Wedded in Belief
Ward Kelley

This worship of one god —
the sun — has ruined me.

I fear my ruin in my ceremony,
I fear my ruin in my dining . . .

I see it in the flesh of my wife,
and I feel it in the explosions
of my concubines: centered
within all my pleasures,

within all, is my ruin, a daimon
at the core of me who turns

and turns and pushes for the one
religion of the one god, pushes,

pushes, even when it knows
it brings me to my ruin.

Most of all I see it in the faces
of my priests, a baleful eye
as they go through the motions
of worship of myself and my god,

and I fear they smile for the daimon,
smile as if they saw my ruin long,

long ago, long before I myself
became aware of it. So there it is.

My ruin. My push. I see my only
device is to learn how to abandon
the daimon. For the truth: the one god
and myself are wedded in the belief

that even us immortals know we must
one day pass from the days of this earth . . .

only the daimon remains.

Artist’s note:
Akhenaton (circa 1350 BCE), was also called Amenhotep IV. A pharaoh of
Egypt, and husband of Nefertiti — whose great beauty is chronicled through
celebrated busts of the period — Akhenaton was the first known historical
person to establish a cult of monotheism. Seven or eight centuries prior to
the Hebrew prophets, Akhenaton began the religion of Aton, the sun god.
Moving his capital from Thebes to Akhetaton, he fought the powerful priests
of the old polytheistic state religion. After Akhenaton’s death, his
son-in-law Tutankhamen returned the capital to Thebes and restored the old