Humanist Voices in Verse

We’re pleased to offer a new feature on Humanist Network News: Humanist Poetry! This week, we are featuring the poems of Daniel Thomas Moran, the new 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.


A Prayer

Nobody gets it right.
Nobody lives forever. 

Nobody knows for sure.
Nobody stops wishing. 

Nobody sleeps through the night.
Nobody rests assured. 

Nobody asks the right questions.
Nobody ever answers. 

Everyone wants to go.
But, nobody wants to leave.


We Mortals

We long for

the perfection

in these things

of the world,

Life certain in

its bilateral symmetry,

Generations strung

like pearls on

an imagined wire.

We squint at the sun.

We marvel at the

plaintive syllables

of songbirds.

We admire

tallness and clarity.

Feeling the

vibrations of it all

beneath our feet,

We rhapsodize

distances suggested

upon moonless nights

daring to name the ineffable.

We write poems and

chant to the mysteries.

We dance round fires

in clearings we have

made in the forest.

We weep for the

spirits of fallen trees.

Facing death

we avert our eyes.

When great things succumb,

We tell ourselves

they were never there.

Thirsty, we lie on

our backs, allowing

our mouths to fill

with rainwater, and

hope to rise, like blossoms

from the dust.



The Book of Prophecy

I have been given

a datebook I cannot use.

It’s a handsome thing.

Unpretentious, portable

and prepared for utility.

I even like its deep red cover,

which encases a future

I hope to see.


There is a blue ribbon I

could use to separate the

what has been, from the

what might be.


If I cannot find

someone in need of it, it

will have to remain barren.

Forever trapped by

a measure of time

it cannot escape.


The fortunate truth is that

I have a nice black one.

Soft and supple, perfect

for a back pocket or a

small corner of my nightstand,

and already populated by

my anticipations.


In a year’s time, it will be

worthless and worn, papers

curled and consumed by

The totality of one man’s

blue scribblings, and his hope

of making the future unforgettable.


–Daniel Thomas Moran