Three Types of Atheism

by Sean Haylock (August 2020)

Gladiateurs, Giorgio de Chirico, 1928
Speaking Objectively
Once in America there lived
A dour guru who believed
The virtuous man a psychopath
Who scorned the weak, and never laughed.
Habitually she was inclined
To knocking back amphetamines
And overfond of cigarettes
She strung out all her acolytes.
She styled herself a brilliant sage
And worshippers of her image
Declared her mind second only
To the unmatched Aristotle
(It seems doubtful that they’d read him).
They promised a new paradigm
To clear the medieval mist
And thwart that wretch called Jesus Christ.
With brave self-love (Man’s noblest trait)
They called pity degenerate,
And showing serious chutzpah,
Pronounced their slogan, “A is A.”
Their error was to have forgotten
(Effectively declared verboten)
The truth: our need for mother’s teat;
We’re each of us a parasite.
The Bitter Quietist
Every variety of abject hell
Confirms that man’s a cruel confounded ape
And history’s blundering course is how I tell
That fate has each of us gripped by the nape.
I’ve scorn to pour upon morality,
Which certain theorists say is a game.
I’d sooner side with them than I’d agree
That God calls everything by its true name.
The parties of firm principle have shown
There’s nought to pick the noble from the petty
So I’m content to sound a righteous groan
And stage a march with black pills for confetti.
Our only hope’s to see things as they are
And wean ourselves off wine of Paul’s terroir.
Squint at Ben Stiller
That comely Grecian urn:
It’s your brain.
A longing to return:
It’s your brain.
The smell of sun-warmed earth:
It’s your brain.
Joy at your child’s birth:
It’s your brain.
Enchantment in a tune:
It’s your brain.
Sheer rapture on a spoon:
It’s your brain.
Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Proust:
It’s your brain.
Chablis, champagne, vermouth:
It’s your brain.
My heart grows weary, mouthing this refrain,
But I remind myself you can’t be blamed.
You weren’t designed for reason; you’re a brain.

Sean Haylock has a PhD in English from Flinders University. He lives in Adelaide with his wife and son.

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