Humanist Voices in Verse: Daniel Thomas Moran’s Poems at the Boston Sunday Assembly

HNN’s very own poetry editor Daniel Thomas Moran was the featured poet for Boston’s Sunday Assembly, part of a 40 dates tour hosted by musician Pippa Evans and comedian Sanderson Jones. The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that meets to hear great talks, sing songs and celebrate the wonder of life. Learn more about the Sunday Assembly here. Below are two poems read by Moran at the event on November 5, 2013.

Daniel Thomas Moran is a retired dentist and Boston University Assistant Professor, former Poet Laureate of Suffolk County, New York and the author of seven collections of poetry. His seventh, A Shed for Wood is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in Ireland. He lives in Webster, New Hampshire with his wife, Karen, where he has taken on the role of Unemployed Poet and Anecdotalist.

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

Some Kind of Sonnet for a Mayfly
For Michael Arcieri

If it be true what learned people say,
The Mayfly lives for but a day.
I’ll not shed even the tiniest tear,
Or wish he’d make it one more year.
Instead I would concentrate on just how grand,
To live without next week’s demand.

And among the simple Mayfly facts is,
He never once has to file his taxes,
Or contemplate the waning moon,
Or anticipate any time but soon.
Never repay but only borrow,
Or check the weather for tomorrow.

It might be luxury, if I may be bold,
To be unconcerned about growing old.
No time for beddy-by, nor alarms to be set,
No time for longing or for regret.
Not to mention that on his day in May,
He might decide to alight or just fly away.

Another thing any Mayfly knows,
He won’t need to shop for Winter clothes.
Never wondering while watching the setting sun
Why living seems over before its begun.
The Mayfly is the only who can truly say
That the Mayfly has so truly had his day.

At eight in the morn his youth would flower,
Old age a twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth hour.
Never needing to strain his brain to remember,
Where he was on the twenty-fourth of September.
Oh Mayfly how strangely fortunate,
Is the lifetime brief and immediate.

Mayfly whose lifetime is so fleetly fleeting,
It would seem so surely worth repeating.

—2006 Daniel Thomas Moran


It’s Like OMG!

my children
use their thumbs
to converse with
invisible people.

they speak
a language
with no words
a shorthand
of the hands

I try using
my voice to
interrupt them

yet they contin-
ue wandering
in a place
with no sound

here thoughts
become reflexes
and god exists
as a single letter

—2008 Daniel Thomas Moran