For HumanistNetworkNews.org
June 02, 2010

To feel wonder,
you have to wonder
–like the child you once were.
Remember, everything was once
wide-eyed, wondrous, unsure?

Then we're taught what we must know
and shame in doubting it.
To set all minds in lockstep,
few questions they permit.

Some decree The Answer's "YES!"
and some proclaim it's "NO!",
but the honest one will wonder,
and say "I just don't know."

To free your thought is scary,
and now and then, it's sad,
but life's now full of wonder,
that feeling you once had.

Replacing smug illusion
with care for humankind,
the blurry squint of reason
for faith admitted blind.

This clump of dirt I hold is real.
No need for pompous airs.
You value more the Love of God,
that He might not be there.

What need of lore of Cherubim
when chocolate bars exist?
compassion, romance, infant smiles,
music, morning mist……..

….You follow when you like
morality that's rote.
If fad and fashion sneer at it,
then just for now, you don't.
Humaneness based on sacred charms
and scrolls on dusty shelves.
It's humanity that's sacred though,
and in and of itself.

It's not points in Heaven's ledger
we're trying to accrue.
A better world, for its own sake,
we want
because we do.
…… If good God there be, I feel
He would prefer that attitude.

(In religion,
there's much good I think.
But its prime function seems of late
to certify a blessing on
our greed, our war, our hate.
End Times, martyrs,
jihads, crusades
–murder most devout.
Lord, save us from our faithfulness,
and grant us humble doubt.)

Conflicting sects and theologues,
each one the one that's true.
A thoughtful question speaks a truth
no mindless answers do.

The stars are boring footnotes
in texts of answers pat,
or clues in novel mysteries
if you see it like that.

Miracles must break nature's laws
when life is just dull stuff,
but the inviolateness of the laws
is miracle enough.

Kind folks say, without proof,
that this is thus and so,
and I say "Sure. Okay. I'll try."
…..but I still know I don't know.

Though we may not have satisfied
all dogmas' "don't"s and "should"s,
we tried to face life honestly,
and we did the best we could.

We may lose euphoric certainty
of endless myths to feel,
but while we live, we'll wonder
what life's wonders may reveal,
and while we live, we'll value life,
and the wonder is
it's real.

Joseph J. Locascio is a statistician at the Memory and Movement Disorders Units at the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center of Massachusetts General Hospital. He also is an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.