Humanist Voices in Verse: Josh Kutchinsky

We’re pleased to feature a new poet this week, Josh Kutchinsky!

Josh Kutchinsky has been a writer of prose and poetry as well as about science and technology. He was a director of ‘Q’ Books Ltd and co-editor of Merely A Matter of Colour: The Ugandan Asian Anthology.

Until June this year he was a director of the British Humanist Association and is still one of their representatives to the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). He co-moderates an international humanist support e-group with a focus on Africa and is a member of IHEU’s advisory group for the Uganda Humanist Schools project.

Josh was inspired to write this poem after attending the World Humanist Congress in Oslo, Norway this past August. He writes, “I hope the poem works without explanation. It was a wonderful Congress in a great city. It took place shortly after the horrific attack borne as many have said with great dignity and wisdom. The words of the Mayor of Oslo said it all: ‘We will punish him with democracy and love!’ The city seemed stunned. It was difficult to find words and there were silences. There is a lot of smoking in the streets. The Congress was punctuated with entertainment and art, including break dancing and opera and much more.”

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.

The Humanist World Congress Oslo 2011

Talked – walked 
Others’ eyes 
Coffee cups 
Shattered lives 

Glasses filling 
Silent pauses 
Speakers’ questions 
Sudden singing 

Roadway flowers 
Fading softly 
Smiling faces 
Boarded windows 

Popping bodies 
Spin and leap 
Pausing thought 
Breaking dance 

Issues glanced 
Facts confronted 
Roads unblocked 
Seated – listening 

Nervous smoke 
Poisoned perfume 
Calming lungs 
Filling streets 

Eating – living 
Others’ eyes 
Watching – waiting 

Oslo focussed 
Shaping sense 

Even – odd 
Thinking freely 
Touching hands 
Minds conceiving 

—Josh Kutchinsky