Creed for Atheists
Let us not speak of GodAs if He were the nightmare of a naughty child, Or a white lie for a widow,Or a conscript’s consolation on the battlefield. Let us instead be awedBy the nothingness we’ve chosen not to be awed by, The shade whose earthly shadowWe’re standing in, the lie cast by a happy lie. The face we turn away,Let us turn it toward the others, let us find them out, The ones who know the wayA sure thing looks when rounded with a little doubt, The same ones every dayWho, kneeling all together in a common room, Pray for their pets and prayAs well for us, their company in a common doom. Let’s take no satisfaction,But concentrate on what we say when we say no: That dead we are the same,That time falls fast across the fading light like snow, That man is an anxious motionOf matter upon matter, liquor upon tongue, The neurotransmitter’s flameUpon the dendrite’s kindling—bright, and not for long.
Copyright © 2018 by Matthew Buckley Smith
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Dinty W. Moore
Jill Allyn Rosser
Assistant Poetry Editor
New Ohio Review is a national literary journal produced by Ohio University’s Creative Writing Program. Now in its tenth year, NOR has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and support from the Ohio Arts Council. Work from its pages consistently appears in the Best American series and the annual Pushcart anthology.