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Monday, 20 February 2012

The Atheist

A church is like a pit
for catching elephants,
he said.
One is built, the other dug,
and there the difference ends.
If anything, the elephant,
nature's bulldozer supreme,
is cannier and harder to ensnare.


And Christ was no more God
than Darwin was a scientist,
he said.
He fitted these together somehow,
like they were made for one another.
He had an inexhaustible supply.
Many a resulting image looked
remarkably surreal.

One day I found him in the church,
kneeling, sheepish when he saw me.
Don't saddle me with faith, he said.
I can't believe a thing
for which there is no evidence,
and what there is of that is just provisional
-
and I am dying, man!

18 comments:

kaykuala said...

He's his own mind. He knows what he wants. But when dying he took solace in God.It's just natural! Great write Dave!

Hank

Mishi said...

hmmm LOved the last 5 lines most..they tell the whole story and theme behind this Poem..beautiful !Dave:-)

jabblog said...

This rings so true and must apply to many who are atheist or agnostic.

Brian Miller said...

at the end of our days we meet the great humbling of not knowing just what lies beyond....

Mary said...

This is one of my favorites of yours, Dave. Reminds me of the old WWII saying...There are no atheists in foxholes.

(why not do comment moderation rather than word verification if you get a lot of 'spam'?)

Kat Mortensen said...

This line made me smile:

Many a resulting image looked
remarkably surreal.

A remarkable poem! And "don't saddle me with faith" is such a superb phrase!

Funny, my poem today, for The Mag is the other side of this.

Raven said...

This is remarkable. It says so much, yet so little. Perhaps I mean it says so much but divulges so little. I like it!

Laurie Kolp said...

and I am dying, man... if only he could open up his mind

The Elephant's Child said...

How very true. My father had rejected his religion and did not practise at all when I was growing up. When he knew he was dying he rang the rabbi and arranged for a (mostly) Jewish funeral. I am so glad he had the time because we would not have known that he would have wanted one.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dear Dave, I am really shocked by this poem. I enjoyed it enourmously despite its terrible words, or exactly because of them!
I don't know who you are quoting from here but the person's talk just grabs the reader by the neck in an unforgettable way. The last line is a neat profound blow.

Windsmoke. said...

How can you be saved from dying by praying to a fictional character, miracles don't happen only fate :-).

JeannetteLS said...

And therein, you have captured my dad.

Jackie Jordan said...

"I don't believe in god, but I'm afraid of him" - Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Personally, I believe in the concept of a supreme being, but how I interpret them may not be respected by some.

oceangirl said...

Are we not the evidence of a creator. Great poem and message.

Dick said...

Ah, the daylight atheist! This is a very skilful poetic evocation of the mechanics both of belief and unbelief. Excellent, Dave.

Dave King said...

kaykuala
Absolutely so.

Mishi
Hi. good to have your comment. You're absolutely right, they do. It hadn't occurred to me!!

jabblog
I'm sure that's right. I had one specific person in mind.

Brian
That also must be true - and, yes, it is very humbling.

Mary
I'd not heard that saying.
Thanks for reminding me. I haven't done anything about it yet! I might consider doing so, yes.

Kat
Thanks for this. I do enjoy your comments.

Raven
Hi and very welcome. Love the comment. Thank you for it.

Laurie
That's so often the challenge is it not?

The Elephant's Child
My dad had a similar sort of crisis in Germany during the war. The Padre rang us to say that he'd been confirmed. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Tommaso
I did have someone in mind. No one well known, just a friend. Not that reall, an associate, I suppose. I have tried to get as close as I poss to the words he actually used, but it's an amalgam from a number of occasions.

Windsmoke
Pass.

JeanetteLS
Ah, and one or two others, it seems. Extraordinary.

Jackie
I love your first sentence. Your second could be part of my credo. Good to have your company. Thanks for leaving a comment.

oceangirl
Hi Welcome and thank you for commenting. Indeed, but that leaves so much unsaid, doesn't it?

Dick
Thanks for this. Much appreciated.

Linda said...

The interesting thought I had was that we are all dying from the day we are born, so how long will we wait, before seeking salvation?

A person misses so much... history, life lessons, music, community... without religion.

Thanks for sharing this Dave.

Rallentanda said...

I am late to this, You address a very interesting phenomenon.Most self declared atheists are actually agnostics.The road of the die hard atheist is terribly arid.They are missing a dimension.

Then again the ferocious fanaticism of religious zealots is removed light years from the intrinsic message of Christianity
and represent a cult of torment.