Humanist Voices in Verse: Daniel Thomas Moran

This week’s featured poem is by Daniel Thomas Moran, editor of Humanist Network News’ “Humanist Voices in Verse” column.

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 Rib in The Garden of Eden

Adam began life at a distinct disadvantage.
He was the only person who could not blame
the various miseries of his life
on having come from a dysfunctional family.
Clearly, he was on his own.
Blame and Guilt were going to be necessary
for the remainder of human history to proceed
and he was going to have to invent it.
Already he was quite impressed
at what a tradesman God Almighty was.
He had invented physics, built
a Universe with little more than sweepings,
adding some background lighting,
the occasional touch of moving water,
some greens, and enough strange creatures
to keep philologists chatting for centuries.
All in six days and all without union help.

The only thing missing was a touch of humor.
That’s where Adam came in, a creature
with a brain larger than could ever be useful.
Pluck him down in the middle of it all,
amid the leopards and the gnats,
the poison sumac and the volcanoes,
the humidity and the quicksand,
the cactus and the chiggers.
Then The Lord could just sit back
and watch the spectacle.
But Adam had one admonition to cope with:
The tree Yahweh fancied most was
The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Since it grew apples,
the name was later shortened to Apple Tree.
God had stuck in smack in the middle
just to irritate and then said to Adam,
“Touch this tree, you, and there will be hell to pay!”
Adam was hardly amused by any of it.
How could he be?
After all, he was yet to find out that comedy
required someone else’s misfortune, and
to Adam, a good laugh made as much sense as Rap Music.

But The Lord was not getting as many yuks
out of this as He had imagined, what with
that dimwit Adam always cowering in the shrubs
and wishing he could fly or at least climb fast,
and just scratching himself raw.
Then came the revelation for The Lord,
a revelation which would be the stuff of sitcoms to come.
Another human, just different enough to create havoc
and the ability to interact just so, that
before long, The Earth would be teeming with humans,
all begetting like alleycats, and hassling, and arguing
and bumping into one another in a million different ways.
The Almighty was roaring at just the thought of it.
Never out of fresh ideas, he quickly concocted
general anesthesia and then plucked a rib from Adam,
and from it, fashioned a helpmate for his lonely friend.
Adam stopped scratching and seemed to perk up right away.
“Bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh!
This is to be called woman for this was taken from man!”
He had no idea what else he was about to give up.
He decided to call her Eve for short.
He was not certain what to do with Eve
but he wanted to do it badly, and now.
But already, Eve had other ideas.
What kind of woman did he think she was anyway?
And by the way Adam, you smell like a goat,
and this jungle looks like Hell!
When was the last time you dusted?
Adam thought about it and he thought
about jumping right back into the bushes, but
he was in love and strange things moved within him.

When the snake showed up talking,
Adam sensed there was trouble afoot.
He was right.
The snake got Eve aside and suggested
that one of those lovely Granny Smiths from
God’s special tree might sooth her jangled nerves,
take her mind off the mess and Adam’s cloying persistence.
Eve sank her big white incisors into that gem
and, realizing that misery likes company,
offered a hunk to the unsuspecting, hormone flushed Adam.
Shame and Guilt were invented that very day, and
God was hotter than a mastodon with a root canal problem.
“Don’t think you can hide behind those silly fig leaves,
especially you Adam. For the rest of your pathetic lives
you will live with pain and suffering and sadness,
and pay taxes and get indigestion
from all of your favorite foods, and nothing,
I mean it, nothing, will ever come easy again,
and you will have to get down on your bony knees
and thank Me for it everyday!
And the same goes for all of your descendants!”

For a moment, Adam took his mind
off what was under Eve’s fig leaf.
He was naked and he was flea-bitten,
and unlike yesterday,
he was a married man.
Eve just tried to look sheepish and coy.
Adam liked it when Eve looked sheepish and coy.
So they decided to live out their days
on apple wine and love.
Sin and temptation became
a major industry all over creation.
Everyone could claim
to have come from dysfunctional ancestors.
And living has never been better since.

— Daniel Thomas Moran