Talk:Atheist poetry

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Philip Larkin - Church Going

Once I am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence.

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new -
Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don't.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches will fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognisable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation - marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these - for which was built
This special shell? For, though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognized, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.

JohnZ (talk) 16:59, 29 November 2015 (EST)

The fact remains that there is no large body of quality atheistic poems. Why? Because atheism is uninspiring. Conservative (talk) 17:11, 29 November 2015 (EST)
According to Wikipedia, which was founded by an atheist an agnostic, "The influence of Christianity on poetry has been great in any area that Christianity has taken hold."[1]
Question: Can the same be said about atheist poetry? I think not! Conservative (talk) 17:36, 29 November 2015 (EST)


Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 - 1822

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

JohnZ (talk) 18:37, 29 November 2015 (EST)

One of the oldest and most well-known atheist websites has a page devoted to atheist poems. They merely offered 7 poems and some of them were linguistically of poor quality. This is not surprising.Conservative (talk) 20:17, 29 November 2015 (EST)
Perhaps they don't know much about poetry, then. Here's plenty more Shelley to keep you going, and maybe even provide some inspiration for your next ode to atheism. JohnZ (talk) 20:51, 29 November 2015 (EST)
Speaking of which, what happened to your poem about Stella and her umbrella? It seems to have disappeared. JohnZ (talk) 22:18, 29 November 2015 (EST)

This Last Pain

William Empson, 1906 - 1984

This last pain for the damned the Fathers found:
"They knew the bliss with which they were not crowned."
Such, but on earth, let me foretell,
Is all, of heaven or of hell.

Man, as the prying housemaid of the soul,
May know her happinss by eye to hole;
He's safe; the key is lost; he knows
Door will not open, nor hole close.

"What is conceivable can happen too,"
Said Wittgenstein, who had not dreamt of you;
But wisely; if we worked it long
We should forget where it was wrong.

Those thorns are crowns which, woven into knots,
Crackle under and soon boil fool's pots;
And no man's watching, wise and long,
Would ever stare them into song.

Thorns burn to a consistent ash, like man;
A splendid cleanser for the frying-pan:
And those who leap from pan to fire
Should this brave opposite admire.

All those large dreams by which men long live well
Are magic-lanterned on the smoke of hell;
This then is real, I have implied,
A painted, small, transparent slide.

These the inventive can hand-paint at leisure,
Or most emporia would stock our measure;
And feasting in their dappled shade
We should forget how they were made.

Feign then what's by a decent tact believed,
And act that state is only so conceived,
And build an edifice of form
For house where phantoms may keep warm.

Imagine, then, by miracle, with me,
(Ambiguous gifts, as what gods give must be)
What could not possibly be there,
And learn a style from a despair.

JohnZ (talk) 20:03, 29 November 2015 (EST)

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

JohnZ (talk) 21:04, 29 November 2015 (EST)

80 pages

I found 80 pages of poems here: Out of interest, is it necessary to have an "Atheism and...." for everything under the sun? I'm no atheist but it is getting a little silly. JohnSelway (talk) 20:39, 29 November 2015 (EST)

I said a large body of QUALITY atheist poems. Last time I checked, there is still no Wikipedia (a website founded by an atheist and agnostic) article on atheist poems.
Firstly it depends on how you define quality (and who is defining it - are you a poetry scholar?). Secondly, who cares what Wikipedia says? Isn't this site supposed to be the antithesis of Wikipedia? Given the large amount of criticism Wikipedia receives here what difference does it make what Wikipedia says? This really should be an essay given it is largely based on your personal opinion of what constitutes good poetry. JohnSelway (talk) 21:47, 29 November 2015 (EST)
Citing the opposition (which lawyers call a "hostile witness") is a well=known and respected form or evidence used in the legal profession. You can ask the owner of Conservapedia about this matter since he graduated from Harvard's Law school. And Wikipedia was founded by an atheist and agnostic.
The article is staying an article. It is not an essay. If you take issue with this, take it up with the owner of Conservapedia. Conservative (talk) 22:31, 29 November 2015 (EST)
By all means keep it as an article. I only suggested essay as you, and you alone, seem to deciding what constitutes quality which is a personal opinion, rather than an objective fact. JohnSelway (talk) 00:30, 30 November 2015 (EST)