Humanist Voices in Verse: Some Call It Love

In celebration of Valentine’s Day and Darwin Day next week, we are featuring a poem by Daniel Thomas Moran, the poetry editor for Humanist Network News.

Daniel Thomas Moran served as Poet Laureate of Suffolk County, New York from 2005 to 2007. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Forum, and the Poetry Salzburg Review. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University’s School of Dental Medicine. His website is

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 Call It Love 

            for Philip Appleman and Darwin

In truth it is only we humans who call it love
What the entirety of nature knows as propagation
the proud males displaying their immense maleness
driven beyond control by endocrine eruptions
to wild dances of courtship in the shadows
of deep green jungles and forests
and discotheques with ten dollar covers
Exploding arrays of manes and plumage
and pompadours glistening with perfumed lacquer
attempting under the over wound strain of
desperate Darwinian overdrive
to curry the attentions of the ever reluctant female
blue with the burden of unfailing discretion
handing out rejection and humiliation
like bittersweet penny confections
Pondering the insufferable battles
and certain conjugations to come
Coyly sipping drinks at the bar
adorned with paper umbrellas
He exploring her scent like a holiday meal
She wondering if he will make a good
first impression upon meeting the folks
Hoping he won’t cast her aside after her labor’s done
for some younger peacock or lioness
or blonde with yet firm breasts
For they all know that a man’s got to do
what a man’s got to do
Soaring over mountain tops roaming the jungle floor
Staying out in bowling alleys until after midnight
Drinking the glories of his manhood from
the screenplay of nature and a frosted mug
Dangling on sinewy strings of slime from musty limbs
Snapping gum in slow motions of
the mirror balled strobe lights
Begging the stares of the ever erect who come
to shuffle the linoleum caverns in
double knit gift wrap and Italian loafers
It’s the way of the game
the royal piggyback minuet
The Black widow’s mate gladly coming to death
Never surviving to tell tales of conquest
How she had begged him for even more
and the whimpering pleas left on his answering machine
Certain she won’t respect him in the morning
Lying back exhaling great plumes of satisfaction
into the steamy air of candlelit rooms
Howling at the moonbeams dripping on the forest floor
Each creature awaiting the evolution of the headache
Stalking the bars for the two martini conquest
And a chance to find a piece of the happily ever after
Sailing the high seas aboard the Beagle with Darwin
On a journey through time to a couch in Vienna.

—Daniel Thomas Moran

This poem first appeared in The Norton Anthology on Darwin, edited by Philip Appleman.