In this incredibly profound poem, the narrator presents the readers with an abstract representation of the distant relationship between man and God. Using a strong tone and grandiloquent rhetoric, the narrator clues us, readers, in on the juxtoposition of the obligations of God and the narrators job of being a Preacher.
The narrator begins the poem with short syntax to state his opinion plainly and to reveal that it isn’t just a half-baked opinion but one he is confident in and one that is well thought out. He begins “I think it must be lonely to be God. Nobody loves a master. No.” This “No.” shows that it is an undisputed matter and that God is in fact lonely. The narrator then provides evidence to support his statement by referencing sunday christians or christians who buy their way into heaven by performing the obligatory rituals. “Despite the bright hosannas, bright dear-Lords, and bright Determined reverence of Sunday eyes.” The Preacher states things with so much conviction that readers start to believe he has had experience, that he has felt the way God feels. He then posses questions to fortify his statements and reinforce the notion that God is indeed desolate. “But who walks with Him?–dares to take his arm, To slap him on the shoulder, tweak His ear, Buy him a Cocoa-Cola, or a beer, Pooh-pooh His politics, call Him a fool?,” these questions bring forth the narrator’s grievance, he is, as well as God, companionless. The Preacher in the clergerical hierarchy (assuming he is prodestant beacause it is “Preacher” rather than “Priest”) is the highest level in the church. He counsels the weak minded, prays with the weak spirited, and cares for the physically weak, but no one cares for him. He shows us, through diction, the contrast between friendship and consolation. In addition to revealing his personal relationships with the congregation, he simultaneously compares this to the congregation’s relationship with God. “But who dares walk with Him?–dares to take his arm…” the preacher uses this sentence to convey the fact that God has followers not friends.
In the New Testiment, Jesus’ (God’s incarnate) diciples were refered to as his followers, the narrator makes a lucid distinction between being a follower of God and being a friend. “But who dares walk with Him?–dares to take his arm…” he uses the words walk with Him and take his arm to give apprehensible imagry of someone side-by-side or equal to God. Each example of friendship is paired in two, the first example in the pair capitalizes he or him to show that the narrator is speaking of God, and the second is lowercase which shows the reader that the narrator is refering to himself. The preacher furthers this notion by stating, “He tires of looking down Those eyes are never lifted. Never straight.” This excerpt enhances his opinion that God, as well as he, has no superiors or equals.
The meaning of this poem as well as all other poems in imbedded and rudementory in rhetoric. The speakers angry and empathetic tone provides the readers with the nessisary tools to reach the overall meaning of the poem. In accordance, his repitition, syntax, ABBC rhyme scheme, imagry, and diction point us to the preachers main assertion that no matter how reverent and dedicated people seem, their relationship with a power figure can never be warm and friendly. Friends are peers, not pupils.