The HyperTexts

Antinatalist Poetry
Antinatalist Epigrams
Antinatalist Quotes by Sophocles
Antinatalist Couplets by Al-Ma'arri
Antinatalist Translations

antinatalist poems and translations by Michael R. Burch

Do human beings have the "right" to bring other human beings into a world that was always "red in tooth and claw" and is now increasingly deadly due to global warming, nuclear weapons and maniacal world leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Saddam, Netanyahu and Trump?

There were antinatalist notes in Homer, around 3,000 years ago ...

For the gods have decreed that unfortunate mortals must suffer, while they remain sorrowless. — Homer (circa 800 BC), Iliad 24.525-526, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
It is best not to be born or, having been born, to pass on as swiftly as possible.—attributed to Homer, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

One of the first great voices to directly question whether human being should give birth was that of Sophocles, around 2,500 years ago ...

Not to have been born is best,
and blessed
beyond the ability of words to express.
—Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It’s a hundred times better not be born;
but if we cannot avoid the light,
the path of least harm is swiftly to return
to death’s eternal night!
—Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

There are more Sophocles quotes later on this page. According to Aristotle, it had become so common in ancient Greece to say "It is best not to be born" that it was considered a cliché!

"You ... may well consider those blessed and happiest who have departed this life before you ... This thought is indeed so old that the one who first uttered it is no longer known; it has been passed down to us from eternity, and hence doubtless it is true. Moreover, you know what is so often said and [now] passes for a trite expression ... It is best not to be born at all; and next to that, it is better to die than to live; and this is confirmed even by divine testimony [i.e, the wisdom of Silenus]: ... The best for them [humans] is not to be born at all, not to partake of nature's excellence; not to be is best, for both sexes. This should be our choice, if choice we have; and the next to this is, when we are born, to die as soon as we can." — Aristotle, Eudemus (354 BCE), surviving fragment quoted in Plutarch, Consolatio ad Apollonium, sec. xxvii

The Bible's wisest man of all time, King Solomon, apparently agreed with the ancient Greeks that it was better not to be born at all:

"So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun." — King James Bible, Ecclesiastes 4:1-3, attributed to King Solomon

Another strong, relentlessly questioning voice was that of a blind Arabic seer ...

Bittersight
by Michael R. Burch

for Abu al-Ala Al-Ma'arri

To be plagued with sight
in the Land of the Blind,
—to know birth is death
and that Death is kind—
is to be flogged like Eve
(stripped, sentenced and fined)
because evil is “good”
as some “god” has defined.

Antinatalist Shyari Couplets by Abul Ala Al-Ma'arri (973-1057)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lighten your tread:
The ground beneath your feet is composed of the dead.

Walk slowly here and always take great pains
Not to trample some departed saint's remains.

And happiest here is the hermit with no hand
In making sons, who dies a childless man.

Two thousand years ago, the Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca spoke of his right to euthanasia, but also about the bliss of not being born in the first place ...

Just as I select a ship when it's time to travel, or a house when it's time to change residences, even so I will choose when it's time to depart from life.―Seneca (4 BC-65 AD), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
There is nothing so pointless, so perfidious as human life! ... The ultimate bliss is not to be born; otherwise we should speedily slip back into the original Nothingness. Seneca, On Consolation to Marcia, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Antinatalist Quotes by Sophocles (circa 497-406 BC)

Never to be born may be the biggest boon of all.—Sophocles, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Oblivion: What a boon, to lie unbound by pain!—Sophocles, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
The happiest life is one empty of thought.—Sophocles, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Consider no man happy till he lies dead, free of pain at last.—Sophocles, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
What is worse than death? When death is desired but denied.—Sophocles, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Children anchor their mothers to life.—Sophocles, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
When a man endures nothing but endless miseries, what is the use of hanging on day after day, always edging closer and closer toward death? Anyone who warms his heart with the false glow of flickering hope is a wretch! The noble man should live with honor and die with honor. That's all that can be said.—Sophocles, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The first Catholic Pope, according to the Popes themselves, was Saint Peter, whose original name was Simon according to the gospels. So I have written a poem for the first Simple Simon and his simpleton heirs. If there is an "eternal hell" and most human beings are bound there, from day one the Popes should have been warning human beings NOT to procreate, duh!

Multiplication, Tabled
or Procreation Inflation

by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

“Be fruitful and multiply”—
great advice, for a fruitfly!
But for women and men,
simple Simons, say, “WHEN!”



Willy Nilly
by Michael R. Burch

for the Demiurge, aka Yahweh/Jehovah

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
You made the stallion,
you made the filly,
and now they sleep
in the dark earth, stilly.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
You forced them to run
all their days uphilly.
They ran till they dropped—
life’s a pickle, dilly.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
They say I should worship you!
Oh, really!
They say I should pray
so you’ll not act illy.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?



Habeas Corpus
by Michael R. Burch

from “Songs of the Antinatalist”

I have the results of your DNA analysis.
If you want to have children, this may induce paralysis.
I wish I had good news, but how can I lie?
Any offspring you have are guaranteed to die.
It wouldn’t be fair—I’m sure you’ll agree—
to sentence kids to death, so I’ll waive my fee.



Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.



Antinatalist Haiku for the Children of Gaza
by Michael R. Burch

You astound me,
your name
unpronounceable on my lips ...

Born into the delicate autumn,
too late to mature,
pale petals ...

Soft as daffodils fall
all the lamentations
of life’s smallest victims,
unheard ...



Styx
by Michael R. Burch

Black waters,
deep and dark and still . . .
all men have passed this way,
or will.



Dust (II)
by Michael R. Burch

We are dust
and to dust we must
return ...
but why, then,
life’s pointless sojourn?



Long Division
by Michael R. Burch

All things become one
Through death’s long division
And perfect precision.



evol-u-shun
by Michael R. Burch

does GOD adore the Tyger
while it’s ripping ur lamb apart?

does GOD applaud the Plague
while it’s eating u à la carte?

does GOD admire ur intelligence
while u pray that IT has a heart?

does GOD endorse the Bible
you blue-lighted at k-mart?



thanksgiving prayer of the parasites
by Michael R. Burch

GODD is great;
GODD is good;
let us thank HIM
for our food.

by HIS hand
we all are fed;
give us now
our daily dead:

ah-men!

(p.s.,
most gracious
& salacious
HEAVENLY LORD,
we thank YOU in advance for
meals galore
of loverly gore:
of precious
delicious
sumptuous
scrumptious
human flesh!)



Murder Most Fowl!
by Michael R. Burch

“Murder most foul!”
cried the mouse to the owl.

“Friend, I’m no sinner;
you’re merely my dinner;

as you fall upon my sword,
take it up with the LORD.”

the wise owl replied
as the tasty snack died.



faith(less)
by Michael R. Burch

Those who believed
and Those who misled
lie together at last
in the same narrow bed

and if god loved Them more
for Their strange lack of doubt,
he kept it well hidden
till he snuffed Them out.



Enough!
by Michael R. Burch

It’s not that I don’t want to die;
I shall be glad to go.
Enough of diabetes pie,
and eating sickly crow!
Enough of win and place and show.
Enough of endless woe!

Enough of suffering and vice!
I’ve said it once;
I’ll say it twice:
I shall be glad to go.

But why the hell should I be nice
when no one asked for my advice?
So grumpily I’ll go ...
although
(most probably) below.



While not antinatalist poems, per se, these poems question the dubious claims of Bible and the religions it spawned. I wrote the first poem, "Bible Libel," after reading the Bible from cover to cover at age eleven.



Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.



Defenses
by Michael R. Burch

Beyond the silhouettes of trees
stark, naked and defenseless
there stand long rows of sentinels:
these pert white picket fences.

Now whom they guard and how they guard,
the good Lord only knows;
but savages would have to laugh
observing the tidy rows.



fog
by Michael R. Burch

ur just a bit of fluff
drifting out over the ocean,
unleashing an atom of rain,
causing a minor commotion,
for which u expect awesome GODS
to pay u SUPREME DEVOTION!
... but ur just a smidgen of mist
unlikely to be missed ...
where did u get the notion?



What Would Santa Claus Say
by Michael R. Burch

What would Santa Claus say,
I wonder,
about Jesus returning
to Kill and Plunder?

For he’ll likely return
on Christmas Day
to blow the bad
little boys away!

When He flashes like lightning
across the skies
and many a homosexual
dies,

when the harlots and heretics
are ripped asunder,
what will the Easter Bunny think,
I wonder?



A Child’s Christmas Prayer of Despair for a Hindu Saint
by Michael R. Burch

Santa Claus,
for Christmas, please,
don’t bring me toys, or games, or candy . . .
just . . . Santa, please . . .
I’m on my knees! . . .
please don’t let Jesus torture Gandhi!



gimME that ol’ time religion!
by michael r. burch

fiddle-dee-dum, fiddle-dee-dee,

jesus
loves and understands ME!
safe in his grace, I’LL damn
them to hell—
the
strumpet, the harlot, the wild jezebel,
the
alky, the druggie, all queers short and tall!
let
them drink ashes and wormwood and gall,
’cause fiddle-dee-DUMB, fiddle-dee-WEE
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEee . . .
jesus
loves and understands
ME!




Saving Graces
for the Religious Right
by Michael R. Burch

Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter
(wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter).



pretty pickle
by Michael R. Burch

u’d blaspheme if u could
because ur God’s no good,
but of course u cant:
ur a lowly ant
(or so u were told by a Hierophant).



u-turn: another way to look at religion
by Michael R. Burch

... u were borne orphaned from Ecstasy
into this lower realm: just one of the inching worms
dreaming of Beatification;
u'd love to make a u-turn back to Divinity, but
having misplaced ur chrysalis,
can only chant magical phrases,
like Circe luring ulysses back into the pigsty ...



In His Kingdom of Corpses
by Michael R. Burch

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many enraged discourses,
high, high from some mountain peak
where He’s lectured man on compassion
while the sparrows around Him fell,
and babes, for His meager ration
of rain, died and went to hell,
unbaptized, for that’s His fashion.

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to vent
in many obscure discourses
on the need for man to repent,
to admit that he’s a sinner;
give up sex, and riches, and fame;
be disciplined at his dinner
though always he dies the same,
whether fatter or thinner.

In his kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many absurd discourses
of man’s Ego, precipitous Peak!,
while demanding praise and worship,
and the bending of every knee.
And though He sounds like the Devil,
all religious men now agree
He loves them indubitably.



no foothold
by Michael R. Burch

there is no hope;
therefore i became invulnerable to love.
now even god cannot move me:
nothing to push or shove,
no foothold.

so let me live out my remaining days in clarity,
mine being the only nativity,
my death the final crucifixion
and apocalypse,

as far as the i can see ...



Practice Makes Perfect
by Michael R. Burch

I have a talent for sleep;
it’s one of my favorite things.
Thus when I sleep, I sleep deep ...
at least till the stupid clock rings.

I frown as I squelch its damn beep,
then fling it aside to resume
my practice for when I’ll sleep deep
in a silent and undisturbed tomb.

Originally published by Light Quarterly



Redefinitions

Faith: falling into the same old claptrap.—Michael R. Burch
Religion: the ties that blind.—Michael R. Burch



Listen
by Michael R. Burch

Listen to me now and heed my voice;
I am a madman, alone, screaming in the wilderness,
but listen now.

Listen to me now, and if I say
that black is black, and white is white, and in between lies gray,
I have no choice.

Does a madman choose his words? They come to him,
the moon’s illuminations, intimations of the wind,
and he must speak.

But listen to me now, and if you hear
the tolling of the judgment bell, and if its tone is clear,
then do not tarry,

but listen, or cut off your ears, for I Am weary.

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem around age 17 or 18.



Less Heroic Couplets: Funding Fundamentals
by Michael R. Burch

"I found out that I was a Christian for revenue only and I could not bear the thought of that, it was so ignoble." — Mark Twain

Making sense from nonsense is quite sensible! Suppose
you’re running low on moolah, need some cash to paint your toes ...
Just invent a new religion; claim it saves lost souls from hell;
have the converts write you checks; take major debit cards as well;
take MasterCard and Visa and good-as-gold Amex;
hell, lend and charge them interest, whether payday loan or flex.
Thus out of perfect nonsense, glittery ores of this great mine,
you’ll earn an easy living and your toes will truly shine!

Originally published by Lighten Up Online



Pagans Protest the Intolerance of Christianity
by Michael R. Burch

“We have a common sky.” — Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345-402)

We had a common sky
before the Christians came.

We thought there might be gods
but did not know their names.

The common stars above us?
They winked, and would not tell.

Yet now our fellow mortals claim
our questions merit hell!

The cause of our damnation?
They claim they’ve seen the LIGHT ...

but still the stars wink down at us,
as wiser beings might.



ur-gent
by Michael R. Burch

if u would be a good father to us all,
revoke the Curse,
extract the Gall;

but if the abuse continues,
look within
into ur Mindless Soulless Emptiness Grim,

& admit ur sin,
heartless jehovah,
slayer of widows and orphans ...

quick, begin!



bible libel (ii)
by Michael R. Burch

ur savior’s a cad
—he’s as bad as his dad—
according to your horrible Bible.

demanding belief
or he’ll bring u to grief?
he’s worse than his horn-sprouting rival!

was this man ever good
before being made “god”?
if so, half your Bible is libel!



un-i-verse-all love
by Michael R. Burch

there is a Gaud, it’s true!
and furthermore, tHeSh(e)It loves u!
unfortunately
the
He
Sh(e)
It
,even more adorably,
loves cancer, aids and leprosy.



Notes toward an Icarian philosophy of life ...
by Michael R. Burch

If the mind’s and the heart’s quests were ever satisfied,
what would remain, as the goals of life?

If there was only light, with no occluding matter,
if there were only sunny mid-afternoons but no mysterious midnights,
what would become of the dreams of men?

What becomes of man’s vision, apart from terrestrial shadows?

And what of man’s character, formed
in the seething crucible of life and death,
hammered out on the anvil of Fate, by Will?

What becomes of man’s aims in the end,
when the hammer’s anthems at last are stilled?

If man should confront his terrible Creator,
capture him, hogtie him, hold his horny feet to the fire,
roast him on the spit as yet another blasphemous heretic
whose faith is suspect, derelict ...
torture a confession from him,
get him to admit, “I did it! ...

what then?

Once man has taken revenge
on the Frankenstein who created him
and has justly crucified the One True Monster, the Creator ...

what then?

Or, if revenge is not possible,
if the appearance of matter was merely a random accident,
or a group illusion (and thus a conspiracy, perhaps of dunces, us among them),
or if the Creator lies eternally beyond the reach of justice ...

what then?

Perhaps there’s nothing left but for man to perfect his character,
to fly as high as his wings will take him toward unreachable suns,
to gamble everything on some unfathomable dream, like Icarus,
then fall to earth, to perish, undone ...

or perhaps not, if the mystics are right
about the true nature of darkness and light.

Is there a source of knowledge beyond faith,
a revelation of heaven, of the Triumph of Love?

The Hebrew prophets seemed to think so,
and Paul, although he saw through a glass darkly,
and Julian of Norwich, who heard the voice of God say,
“All shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well ...”

Does hope spring eternal in the human breast,
or does it just blindly grope?



Icarus Bickerous
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Like Icarus, waxen wings melting,
white tail-feathers fall, bystanders pelting.

They look up amazed
and seem rather dazed—

was it heaven’s or hell’s furious smelting

that fashioned such vulturish wings?
And why are they singed?—

the higher you “rise,” the more halting?



Crescendo Against Heaven
by Michael R. Burch

As curiously formal as the rose,
the imperious Word grows
until it sheds red-gilded leaves:
then heaven grieves
love’s tiny pool of crimson recrimination
against God, its contention
of the price of salvation.

These industrious trees,
endlessly losing and re-losing their leaves,
finally unleashing themselves from earth, lashing
themselves to bits, washing
themselves free
of all but the final ignominy
of death, become
at last: fast planks of our coffins, dumb.

Together now, rude coffins, crosses,
death-cursed but bright vermilion roses,
bodies, stumps, tears, words: conspire
together with a nearby spire
to raise their Accusation Dire ...
to scream, complain, to point out these
and other Dark Anomalies.

God always silent, ever afar,
distant as Bethlehem’s retrograde star,
we point out now, in resignation:
You asked too much of man’s beleaguered nation,
gave too much strength to his Enemy,
as though to prove Your Self greater than He,
at our expense, and so men die
(whose accusations vex the sky)
yet hope, somehow, that You are good ...
just, O greatest of Poets!, misunderstood.



Heaven Bent
by Michael R. Burch

This life is hell; it can get no worse.
Summon the coroner, the casket, the hearse!
I’m upwardly mobile; this one thing I know:
I can only go up; I’m already below!



Beast 666
by Michael R. Burch

“... what rough beast ... slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”—W. B. Yeats

Brutality is a cross
wooden, blood-stained,
gas hissing, sibilant,
lungs gilled, deveined,
red flecks on a streaked glass pane,
jeers jubilant,
mocking.

Brutality is shocking—
tiny orifices torn
by cruel adult lust,
the fetus unborn
tossed in a dust-
bin. The scarred skull shorn,
nails bloodied, tortured,
an old wound sutured
over, never healed.

Brutality, all its faces revealed,
is legion:
Death March, Trail of Tears, Inquisition . . .
always the same.
The Beast of the godless and of man’s “religion”
slouching toward Jerusalem:
horned, crowned, gibbering, drooling, insane.



Shock and Awe
by Michael R. Burch

With megatons of “wonder,”
we make our godhead clear:
Death. Destruction. Fear.

The world’s heart ripped asunder,
its dying pulse we hear:
Death. Destruction. Fear.

Strange Trinity! We ponder
this God we hold so dear:
Death. Destruction. Fear.

The vulture and the condor
proclaim: The feast is near!
Death. Destruction. Fear.

Soon He will plow us under;
the Anti-Christ is here:
Death. Destruction. Fear.

We love to hear Him thunder!
With Shock and Awe, appear!—
Death. Destruction. Fear.

For God can never blunder;
we know He holds US dear:
Death. Destruction. Fear.



Lay Down Your Arms
by Michael R. Burch

Lay down your arms; come, sleep in the sand.
The battle is over and night is at hand.
Our voyage has ended; there's nowhere to go . . .
the earth is a cinder still faintly aglow.

Lay down your pamphlets; let's bicker no more.
Instead, let us sleep here on this ravaged shore.
The sea is still boiling; the air is wan, thin . . .
lay down your pamphlets; now no one will “win.”

Lay down your hymnals; abandon all song.
If God was to save us, He waited too long.
A new world emerges, but this world is through . . .
so lay down your hymnals, or write something new.



What Immense Silence
by Michael R. Burch

What immense silence
comforts those who kneel here
beneath these vaulted ceilings
cavernous and vast?

What luminescence stained
by patchwork panels of bright glass
illuminates drained faces
as the crouching gargoyles leer?

What brings them here—
pale, tearful congregations,
knowing all Hope is past,
faithfully, year upon year?

Or could they be right? Perhaps
Love is, implausibly, near
and I alone have not seen It . . .
But, if so, still, I must ask:

why is it God that they fear?

Published in The Bible of Hell



Where We Dwell
by Michael R. Burch

Night within me.
   Never morning.
     Stars uncounted.
       Shadows forming.
       Wind arising
     where we dwell
   reaches Heaven,
reeks of Hell.

Published in The Bible of Hell



Intimations
by Michael R. Burch

Let mercy surround us
with a sweet persistence.

Let love propound to us
that life is infinitely more than existence.

Published by Katrina Anthology



Altared Spots

The mother leopard buries her cub,
then cries three nights for his bones to rise
clad in new flesh, to celebrate the sunrise.

Good mother leopard, pensive thought
and fiercest love’s wild insurrection
yield no certainty of a resurrection.

Man’s tried them both, has added tears,
chants, dances, drugs, séances, tombs’
white alabaster prayer-rooms, wombs

where dead men’s frozen genes convene ...
there is no answer—death is death.
So bury your son, and save your breath.

Or emulate earth’s “highest species”—
write a few strange poems and odd treatises.



Peers
by Michael R. Burch

These thoughts are alien, as through green slime
smeared on some lab tech’s brilliant slide, I grope,
positioning my bright oscilloscope
for better vantage, though I cannot see,
but only peer, as small things disappear—
these quanta strange as men, as passing queer.

And you, Great Scientist, are you the One,
or just an intern, necktie half undone,
white sleeves rolled up, thick documents in hand
(dense manuals you don’t quite understand),
exposing me, perhaps, to too much Light?
Or do I escape your notice, quick and bright?

Perhaps we wield the same dull Instrument
(and yet the Thesis will be Eloquent!).

Published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea



dark matter(s)
by Michael R. Burch

for and after William Blake

the matter is dark, despairful, alarming:
ur Creator is hardly prince charming!

yes, ur “Great I Am”
created blake’s lamb

but He also created the tyger ...
and what about trump and rod steiger?

NOTE: Rod Steiger is best known for his portrayals of weirdos, oddballs, mobsters, bandits, serial killers, and fascists like Mussolini and Napoleon.



Is there any Light left?
by Michael R. Burch

Is there any light left?
Must we die bereft
of love and a reason for being?
Blind and unseeing,
rejecting and fleeing
our humanity, goat-hooved and cleft?

Is there any light left?
Must we die bereft
of love and a reason for living?
Blind, unforgiving,
unworthy of heaven
or this planet red, reeking and reft?

NOTE: While “hoofed” is the more common spelling, I preferred “hooved” for this poem. Perhaps because of the contrast created by “love” and “hooved.”



Modern Dreams
by Michael R. Burch

after David B. Gosselin

I dreamed that God was good, but then I woke
and all his goodness vanished—poof!
like smoke.

I dreamed his Word was good, but then I heard
commandments evil, awful, weird,
absurd.

I dreamed of Heaven where cruel Angels flew
above my head and screamed, the Chosen Few,
“We’re not like you!”

I dreamed of Hell below, where prostitutes
adored by Jesus played on lovely lutes
“True Love Commutes.”

I dreamed of Earth then woke to hear a Gong’s
repellent echoes in Religion’s song
of right gone wrong.



Prayer for a Merciful, Compassionate, etc., God to Murder His Creations Quickly & Painlessly, Rather than Slowly & Painfully
by Michael R. Burch

Lord, kill me fast and please do it quickly!
Please don’t leave me gassed, archaic and sickly!
Why render me mean, rude, wrinkly and prickly?
Lord, why procrastinate?

Lord, we all know you’re an expert killer!
Please, don’t leave me aging like Phyllis Diller!
Why torture me like some poor sap in a thriller?
God, grant me a gentler fate!

Lord, we all know you’re an expert at murder
like Abram—the wild-eyed demonic goat-herder
who’d slit his son’s throat without thought at your order.
Lord, why procrastinate?

Lord, we all know you’re a terrible sinner!
What did dull Japheth eat for his 300th dinner
after a year on the ark, growing thinner and thinner?
God, grant me a gentler fate!

Dear Lord, did the lion and tiger compete
for the last of the lambkin’s sweet, tender meat?
How did Noah preserve his fast-rotting wheat?
God, grant me a gentler fate!

Lord, why not be a merciful Prelate?
Do you really want me to detest, loathe and hate
the Father, the Son and their Ghostly Mate?
Lord, why procrastinate?



Alien
by Michael R. Burch

for J. S. S., a "Christian" poet

On a lonely outpost on Mars
the astronaut practices “speech”
as alien to primates below
as mute stars winking high, out of reach.

And his words fall as bright and as chill
as ice crystals on Kilimanjaro —
far colder than Jesus’s words
over the “fortunate” sparrow.

And I understand how gentle Emily
felt, when all comfort had flown,
gazing into those inhuman eyes,
feeling zero at the bone.

Oh, how can I grok his arctic thought?
For if he is human, I am not.



Related Pages: Heretical Poetry, Antinatalist Poetry, Poems about Icarus by Michael R. Burch

The HyperTexts