Hnn | HNN Articles

Humanist Voices in Verse: “We” by Frank S. Robinson

 

This week we’re pleased to publish a new poem “We” by Frank S. Robinson.

Frank S. Robinson is a retired New York State administrative law judge, a rare coin dealer, and author of five books, most recently The Case for Rational Optimism. He is married to the poet Therese Broderick, and blogs at www.rationaloptimist.wordpress.com.

If you’d like to contribute original poetry to Humanist Voices in Verse, write to hnn@americanhumanist.org with “Poetry” in the subject line. Please send no more than three poems for consideration per week.

 

We

“O God, your sea is so vast, and my boat is so small.”
This was an ancient sailor’s prayer,
A gasp of reverential terror
In the face of Nature’s power.

Naked did we come to this world,
Naked to that unforgiving force,
Put here with nothing but our two bare hands –
And a mass of grey stuff in our skulls.

So we took rocks and sticks and bones,
That’s all we had, and made them into tools.
Then fire, and melting metal out of stones,
For making better things.
Pretty soon we’re growing food;
Building cities; wiring the planet;
Flying to the Moon.

Always driven by the quest for knowledge,
Like squeezing blood from stones;
Mother Nature tries to keep her secrets,
And only wants for us to multiply;
But we want so much more,
We want the truth.

And if naked animals we were,
Now virtually gods are we become,
In the knowledge we have won,
And the mountains we have moved.
Rocks and soil, trees and water
Do not feel, or love, or suffer pain,
But we do, we living men and women do!
And if we seize from Earth the things we need,
That we who breathe and feel
May suffer the less and live the more,
This is no crime, it is a triumph.

After four billion years at last
There are beings on this globe
No longer at its mercy,
But with our fate in our own hands;
By toil and strife, with gritted teeth,
Up from squalid caves we’ve climbed,
By our bootstraps, to the summit;
Not by grace of God, but by ourselves.

Yes, the sea is vast, and our boats are small indeed.
But with that grey stuff in our skulls,
Our eyes to the horizon, and our faces to the wind,
We set out upon our journey.

---Frank S. Robinson

blog comments powered by Disqus

American Humanist Association

As part of our "Don't Say The Pledge" campaign, we have created a printable boyc...

40 minutes ago

American Humanist Association

Because of our "Don't Say The Pledge" campaign, we have gotten a lot of feedback...

3 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Last week, a lesbian couple was denied a Texas driver’s license because her name...

20 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Thank you Humanists of Idaho for sharing this image with us!

22 hours ago

American Humanist Association

The Missing Scarf is a 2013 Oscar-commended animated short film narrated by Geor...

24 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Congrats to Daniel Ross, a new Humanist Celebrant! Interested in becoming a Huma...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Did the FAA just open the door to murder-by-drone? Clay Farris Naff takes a look...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're sharing this video of Bill Maher's recent show, not because we endorse eve...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

There are now 37 members of Congress who self-identify as atheist or agnostic bu...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

SMART Recovery, a secular, science-based addiction recovery program, celebrated...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA In The News: This morning Fox News covered our legal complaint against a pub...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday Everyone! Here's a fun Agnostic gospel for you! Thanks UCB Comedy!

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Which religions care most about church-state separation? Matt Bulger reports fro...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today, the AHA stepped in on behalf of a South Carolina student who was threaten...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week on the Humanist Hour Podcast, AHA's very own Maggie Ardiente and Roy S...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Thanks to the AHA, this North Dakota student will now be allowed to remain in hi...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Tattoos. What is your opinion on body art and does it have anything to do with y...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out the early reviews for Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from...

7 days ago