Humanist Voices in Verse: “The Atheist’s Prayer” by Lydia Erickson

This week’s poem is by Lydia Erickson, a writer of essays, poetry, short stories, blog posts, articles, and (hopefully soon) novels. She attends Boston University, where she is completing a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature, as well as a minor in Spanish. She originally hails from Palo Alto, California. Her hobbies include food, theatre, reading and writing speculative fiction, music, and travel.

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


The Atheist’s Prayer

Like an expectant mother in her daughter’s room
I await myself.

And while there are many things
one can leave to God
(The Universe, Chance, the Cosmic Shebang)
the weather and distant wars
the subtle shift of foreign moons

And many still that one must
leave to God
your life, your heart
My making must
and will be
my own

And if it is true – that we cannot
choose what we become
that Circumstance and Situation and
the Clockwork Universe
play such great a part as to make
free will, personality, the self
a delusion,
then I will choose the eyes that
shape me
and I will choose the lies that
make me
and if ever there is one to break me
my shards will be my own
my own.

 

  • Zachary_Bos

    How excellently humanistic is that contingency of this poem, underscored by the succession of “if” and “then”. Well done.

  • Hanrod

    Wonderful expression of the, essential, human spirit!

  • Bob

    It has always seemed odd to me that many atheists (and I am definitely an atheist) whine that free will doesn’t exist. To me, free will is merely the ability to choose between two or more options. Do I marry or stay single, Do I lie or tell the truth, The people who don’t believe in freewill are those mumble idiocies like “God has a plan for your life.” who definitely aren’t atheists.