Poems By An Atheist
Wikipedia lists several hundred atheist writers and poets. Freedom From Religion Foundation has it own list of atheist writers and poets. Several internet sites cater to atheist poets. These lists omit the thousands of unknown atheists like myself who write without any hope our poems will see the light of day or will be read by someone in the need of inspiration in the early morning darkness. Poetry, about religion, about patriotism, about love, about hate, abounds. Poetry about atheism lingers in the shadows
I have files of unread poetry, inspired by my secular beliefs, that will never be read, unless someone stumbles on them in graygoosegosling.wordpress. With that hope in mind I will periodically include them for your inspection and hopefully, your pleasure.
“A Little Home for God” – Neurological experiments have demonstrated that stimulation of certain parts of the brain can cause patients and volunteers to have religious and near death experiences. It is suspected that religious figures of the past may have had neurological disorders, such as tumors, which made them believe they were conversing with a deity. In some cases, such as Joan of Arch, this experience may have inspired them to accomplish extraordinary feats attributed by some as a direct intervention of a of deity into human affairs.
A Little Home For God
A little home for God exists inside of you and me.
It’s deep inside our brains, in a place we cannot see.
Somewhere along neural tracts and in clumps of cells
The Lord, our God, resides comfortably and well.
He shares his home with other gods of other times and creeds
who, just like him, all claim to fill important needs.
They are there when we call as if by special magic,
but when we let them help us, it often turns out tragic.
Sometimes they take control of us just for their own ends
like a lethal virus when its life upon us depends.
Did nature put these cells inside of us for reason,
to help us through hard times and the deadly season?
For some of us it must have helped in the past as in the present,
that’s why now we need the comfort of the cross, the star, the crescent.
This godly home, some do think, is in our temporal lobe
or maybe our limbic system is the address of its abode.
It really makes no difference to some of us you see,
because in our brains and intellect, there is… no vacancy.
Ever wonder what it’s like being dead?
No longer here but, being there instead?
Looking ahead at afterlife:
Will there be happiness or will there be strife?
And, will heaven be like you were told?
And, will you walk upon streets of gold?
And, will you sing in heavenly choir
and pity those in Satan’s fire?
And, will they let you own a dog
and will you have a place to jog?
And, what about burgers and fries?
And, what about cookies and pies?
And, what about a baseball game?
And, will TV programs be the same?
And, will your friends be there with you
and will the grass be wet with dew?
And, will there be a swimming pool
where kids can play in waters cool?
So, if you think about being dead,
another choice you might want instead.
How about a long peaceful sleep
without a morning time to keep?
How about no more pain,
no more problems, no more strain?
What about eternal rest
guaranteed to be the best?
It makes no difference which you choose
when your future, you finally lose
simply because it’s not your choice.
In its selection you have no voice.
So don’t ever worry about being dead,
getting there is worse it’s said.
When fate’s appointment you must keep,
just hope it arrives… while you’re asleep.
The time will come when you’ll perish
so every day you must cherish,
and live your lives with love and zest,
and fulfill your dreams before you rest.
Darwin’s Daughter Dies
What kind of father doesn’t kneel to pray when his daughter suffers her last day?
Sick as only the innocent can be, whose frail body from sick bed is freed;
Who napped in her father’s most gentle arms, fussed with his hair with childish charm,
pirouetted before him on the Sand Walk and pulled on his hand not needing to talk.
She played at his feet among barnacle jars, begged him to identify twinkling stars.
She fussed with his cuffs and pulled on his collar, snuck pinches of snuff to him in the parlor.
She faded in spite of prayers from dear Emma. Over dear Annie they cried in dilemma.
God was having his way with the child as with sparrows that fall in the wild.
Dear little Annie lived just ten short years, died in the arms of a father in tears.
Alone on Sand Walk the father still came, admired by scientists; now basking in fame.
But, all of that fame meant nothing to him compared to his loss so sad and so grim.
Oh, to swing her in autumn’s bright leaves, stroll with her through oceans of daisies.
Who was this man who shed tears outside the parish church with dead Annie inside?
Who was this man devoted to science not god, whilst he lay dear Annie down in cold sod?
‘Twas the man who loved beetles, barnacles, and worms, finches, and tortoises, baobabs, and ferns.
‘Twas the man who was loving to children and wife, who sought to reveal the mysteries of life.
If you know not his theory, his earth-shaking claims, check out Charles Darwin, the most famous of names.
His love of dear Annie was much greater in worth than his grand theory that shook the whole earth.
Drosophila – Ode to a Fruit Fly
Drosophila Melagaster, you sexy little fly.
Your universe is in a bottle; you never saw the sky.
You never had the chance to fly, free as God made you.
Your firmament was made of glass, all you ever knew.
A slice of apple or an orange, would have been your wish.
A ripe banana is your heaven in a little dish.
Instead you existed under glass just for me to see,
to reproduce and be bred by a human deity.
I watched you copulate, lay eggs to my delight;
I watched as your larva pupated in plain sight;
I watched your offspring hatch and spread their tiny wings;
I etherized your whole brood and examined the little things.
With a little brush, I selected a few mutations,
and then bred them once again to make some new creations.
Playing God sure felt good for some unholy reason.
Creating little mutants was supernatural treason.
What I did in college lab with deliberate resolution
happens all the time in nature, its called evolution.
But there are those of little wit that still cannot conceive
that what we did together should really be believed.
I finished my genetics course and passed the final tests.
I never could have done it without my fruit fly pests.
Playing God is bad enough; some think it a holy crime.
But, it was fun proving evolution by my design.
Vestigial organs, what can they be?
What they were once I cannot see.
What will they become? I’ll never know
how they change and slowly grow.
Thinking about them can be a strain
if you have one for a brain.
The curtain hung unnoticed since intellect was born,
thick with dust from ages past, faded and forlorn.
It covered the only window of a house that had no doors
and sifted the meager light that managed to the floor.
It trembled in the turbulent storm of ideas spawned of science
but continued to hide the truth in opaque defiance.
What atrocities of the past paced the moldy floor?
What poor souls inside searched for absent doors?
Who hung the curtain in the ancient past?
How long was it there, how long would it last?
Would some poor soul, driven by despair,
finally gather the courage and boldly take the dare,
perhaps to peer out cautiously at the world of reason?
Perhaps to see, at last, a new and glorious season.
If only they could find their way through the dark morass,
truth itself is the door through which they all may pass.
Will there be a time when doors appear and curtains will be slashed,
when prejudice and superstition will be resolutely trashed?
The story of the house with one window and no doors
should become a fable of the past and reality no more.
But still, we empathize with those who dwell within,
and have not escaped the fundamental spin.
We hope they will be courageous and reject dogmatic din
and make the world a better place for humans and their kin.
Darwin is My Hero
Darwin is my hero. He turned the world around
and freed us all from ignorance wherever it was found.
The faith of popes and preachers he truly did confound,
because his new theory was true and most profound.
In spite of what he told the world, some still cannot conceive
that not all the stories read in church, are to be believed.
Between the lines, when carefully read, the truth you may perceive.
Don’t let the darkness of the past, your open eyes deceive.
Some still cling to fairy tales and still swear and do proclaim
that the truths from Darwin’s mind were, at best, profane.
They urge you to reject what came from Charlie’s brain,
if heaven is the goal you eventually must attain.
If you believe that you must choose between the “word” and “theory”,
and of the facts of science you always must be leery,
look again and you will see there just is no restriction
to believe both in God and Darwin, if that is your conviction.
During Sunday Service
During Sunday Service in the midst of sacred psalms
Reading Holy Scripture, bowed head and touching palms.
That time may not grab attention, nor grip your busy mind
Your thoughts may be wandering, of the secular kind.
What about that business deal or the raise you didn’t get?
What about that sexy classmate or that football bet?
What about the college boards or next year’s tuition?
Will your car start tonight, what is its condition?
Does the pastor make any sense as he rants and raves?
Do his words strike you with fear, turn calm water to angry waves?
I can’t believe kneeling bodies, clasped hands, and bowed heads
really mean they’ve swallow everything that’s said.
Those who choose good reason and make the scientific choice
need more than threats and bribes to believe and to rejoice.
They are closeted atheists, or agnostics if you like.
They are clearly humanists of the secular type.
They come to church with family to meet their social friends;
they put in their appearance because its the way weeks end.
Freethought will have to wait behind the closet door
Science will have to close its eyes and bite its tongue once more
During Sunday service while the preacher calls you sinner
Let your thoughts wander some, think like you’re a winner
Don’t buy into punishing the son for the father’s sin
Don’t feel guilty for something done by an ancient kin.
Don’t believe in miracles, those religious fairy tales
Don’t believe that old Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
Don’t believe in virgin birth, that immaculate conception.
Don’t believe in walking dead, what a weird perception.
Instead of myth try some reason, mix science in to your brew
Add common sense, a pinch of logic, to your rational stew.
Share your meal with others, longing for good nutrition
Don’t worry about your evil nature and your pathway to perdition.
Let altruism reign supreme, let empathy guide your life.
Be sensitive to the plite of others, to their needs and strife;
do what’s right as instinct tells you, you’ll know what it’s about.
Telling right from wrong is easy, not hard to figure out.
During Sunday service in the midst of sacred psalms
Reading holy scriptures, bowed head and touching palms.
Throw off the chains of superstition, miracles, and silly rules
Substitute skepticism and good science taught in schools.
You’ll meet bigots who want to save your soul,
they may threaten to impede you from your stated goals
They want you to be obedient to dogma, and superstition,
They want to control your mind and wallet without condition.
So, raise your head, unclasp your hands, get up off your knees.
Open your mind, put out your hand to humanism please.
During Sunday service resolve to speak your mind,
with love and understanding to the faithful blind.
Sitting Next to Grandma
While sitting next to Grandma as she read to me
I could tell she loved me, it was plain to see.
I watched her dear old face as she told me how
God made the earth for us, it was her solemn vow.
It all began as a void with waters vast and deep.
Then light was made before the sun; the Lord was really neat.
I never quite could understand how this event could be,
but Grandma read it from the bible that very night to me.
And then God made the heavens but that confused me so,
for where had He been before He had a place to go?
Next came land, then plants according to their kind,
such wonders of creation really blew my mind.
But, I will never understand, no matter what they say,
how plants could grow as they do, without a sunny day.
But that’s exactly what Grandma read to me from the holy book,
it was plainly there to read if I would only look.
Then God made the stars and the planets in the sky.
The sun and moon soon followed, again up very high.
I wondered just how God made the light several days ago
before the sun existed, there was much I did not know.
All kinds of birds were next and every fish with fin;
even a few sea monsters He claimed to have thrown in.
The Lord saw that all was good and was so very proud
that He created the animals next from His heavenly cloud.
Grandma said He made all life, so He must have made bacteria,
those nasty tiny killers that live in my cafeteria.
Then Grandma read a verse that really made me wonder,
“Let us make a man to live on the earth down under.”
Who was this us? I asked Grandma, surely she would know.
Are there other Gods, as some do claim? I really want to know.
Grandma said He had some help from angels with great wings.
Why, I asked, did He need aid from such outlandish things?
I then asked Grandma if God looked just like me,
and did He have an organ that He used to pee?
Or was God a lady and did She have to sit
whenever She began to feel that it was time for it?
Grandma stopped her reading; she turned a shade of red.
I thought for sure that she would decide to send me off to bed.
She thought a while and then proclaimed, “Of that I have no opinion!”
She soon went on and read some more, all about dominion.
We rule the beasts upon this earth and in the sky and sea.
He commands us, she did say, to subdue all we see;
to be masters of all creatures and use them as we wish;
to cook them up for all our meals, they make a tasty dish.
But when the Lord had worked six days, he was so very tired.
He had done, with winged help, all that was required.
So, He blessed the seventh day and took a well-earned rest,
satisfied, no doubt, that He had done his best.
Grandma put her bible down and looked at my young face.
She believed in all that she had read, of doubt there was no trace.
But in my mind at that early age I just could not conceive
how the stories that my Grandma read could really be believed.
I went to bed that very night and thought about creation
and wondered if they believed that story in every other nation.
Do all good folk believe the book she read with such conviction,
or do they read from their own books of faith and superstition?
Now that many years have passed and I have learned so much,
I look back upon my youth and Grandma’s loving touch.
Although she believed with all her heart, she really did not know
the truth about how life began and how it still does grow.
She thought that God had a chosen few and that the end was near.
She did her best to instill in me that belief she held so dear.
She tried to teach me to fear God and of the sin I bear,
Adam’s sin passed down to me and all of us to share.
What Adam did with Eve that day they falsely had been blamed,
for if God had made them what they were, they did as He ordained.
So now when I think of Grandma’s God and His threat of hell,
I know it’s just a fairy tale that works, as does a spell.
When I have kids like Mom and Dad, I’ll make sure they have
a true idea about their lives, both the good and bad.
Thank you Grandma for being you, and for loving me.
You made me think about this world and who I soon would be.