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

In recent years, debates have grown over the place of atheists, agnostics, and n...

18 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Did you know about the new social media site, Ello? Neither did we. But hey, we...

20 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Prisoners dodging the rules because of religious exception?

21 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Secular Americans are showing their political side!

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Humanist Celebrant Dan Moran had the honor of performing the first humanist bab...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

DC Metro area humanists! Join us this Wednesday for happy hour at Mai Thai in NW...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA's David Niose in AlterNet today, explaining why rational public policy will...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

This full-page advertisement ran in the Denver Post newspaper this week in respo...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who caught the latest episode of The Good Wife? The most recent episode of the n...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with the saturation of religion in everyday life...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week, an apology to a student in southern California will be delivered afte...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

School is a place where students should feel safe regardless of race, religion,...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

There are several volunteer regional grassroots coordinator positions available...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why don't we start the week off with a laugh? What's a post game interview like...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, the new b...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Perhaps this kid will go just one step further? #skeptic #humanist

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday everyone!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

The number of "churchless" Americans is rising! It is now estimated that 38% of...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

On this day in 1946, the first images of Earth from outer space were captured!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA staffer Matthew Bulger talks about Gamergate. "It’s extremely important th...

7 days ago