Humanist Voices in Verse:

This week’s poem is by Ronald Crowe. Ronald was born in Atlanta, Georgia, lived in Alaska for 20 years, and retired to Monticello, California. He received his B.A. in journalism from the University of Alabama and a Master of Fine Arts in English from the University of Alaska. He worked as a technical writer for Sperry, Boeing, Battelle-Northwest, and as an editor for the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research.

His poems have appeared in numerous publications including The Paris Review, The New York Quarterly, Anthology of Magazine Verse (1981 and 1985) and Yearbook of American Poetry (Monitor Books). He won the University of Alaska’s McCracken Award for Poetry in 1974 and 1976 and the New York Quarterly’s Lucille Medwick Award (judged by Robert Penn Warren) in 1978. While in Alaska, Ron also won the Toastmaster’s Statewide Humorous Speech Contest in 1989.

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.

Freethinker’s Prayer

Dear unknown, original creative force:
Were you a sentient entity who answered prayer
and intervened, I would beseech you: Please
persuade your pious believers to stop hurting/killing
one another, destroying each other’s homes, villages, towns…
all done cheerfully in one of your sacred names.

And help us to understand why men
so readily kill and maim their brothers
and sisters over differences in how they see
what you may or may not be.

Since, however, you do not appear to exist in any}
of the imagined forms, or in any detectable
way, and do not or cannot or will not respond under
any circumstances to man’s prayful pleadings,
which seems to have always been the case,

We escapees from the faith-built fortresses
of our pious forebears listen and understand, since
we have learned to hear in the silence of the heavens
the eternal reply—an answer so silent, so obvious,
that most continue to miss it; their ears still confused
by mythology’s tinnitus, their senses lulled
by the restless siren songs of sweet superstition.

—Ronald Crowe