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

Carroll County: A Small Maryland Community Gets Big Attention for All the Wrong...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Matthew Bulger, the AHA's legislative associate, reports on our first congressio...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're happy to welcome a new chapter, Washington DC, Atheists, Humanists and Agn...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out some photos from yesterday's congressional briefing on humanist celebr...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Our first congressional briefing was a success! The room was completely packed w...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Wonder Works Day Camp in Moscow, Idaho has begun! The first day was a huge succe...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The briefing on military chaplaincy has begun.

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today, the American Humanist Association will be hosting our first Congressional...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is a video from Harvard's Making Caring Common Project. 5 Ways to Raise M...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why the Way We Live is More Important. Get TheHumanist.com by email once a week...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hey, have a laugh! http://hmn.st/1sFRZ33 Get TheHumanist.com by email once a we...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

No matter how right or how wrong, religion can not establish morality for the ma...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

I have come across this many times. While this topic may not be important to all...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Jesus Cones! A new way to violate church-state separation, in Gwinnett County, G...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Well this is rad! AHA Board Member Herb Silverman is featured in this short (10...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

It may seem silly, maybe even a blatant mockery, but if you really think about i...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

A Blessing in Disguise for Atheists? Check out AHA Legal Director David Niose's...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

This is a very interesting interactive chart explaining bible contradictions, sh...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Have you seen the new FYI Network show Married At First Sight? Tell us what you...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Vaccination Exception; God doesn't want me to receive vaccines... Luis Gran...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

With Corporations becoming "people", they will obviously be exploring religion.....

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

An Invocation for Everyone: What the Secular Invocation in Greece, N.Y., Means f...

9 days ago