A brief history of God

by Richard on December 9, 2012

An Advent poem from Godfrey Rust

You are
not who we think you are.

It was simple at first: you made stuff in a week,
lived up a mountain or in a small box,
throwing down thunderbolts, putting up rainbows,
losing your temper, indulging the kids—

then the mountain was climbed, the box was lost,
the lightning conducted, the rainbow parsed,
the week became endless, the kids grew up spoiled

so you relocated above the domed sky,
reserving your judgements, making careful notes,
stepping down for the odd guest appearance,
a locust plague here, a sea parted there—

then the telescope couldn’t pick you out
from a lonely world in the empty night
of a sky too big for you to hide in

so you found a career as an engineer,
the absent watchmaker winding the wheels;
poet and priest guarded your workmanship,
the key in your hand for when time is up—

then gravity, the main attraction,
put our feet on the ground and the moon in the air:
the force was with us—we beamed you out

so you came to haunt body and mind,
the great universal intangible soul,
a moral principle making the difference,
the cosmic will, the sustainer of life—

then the microscope found the unruly gene
in its random mutation left no room for choice:
the fittest survived—you were well out of shape

so you slipped away to the gaps in the schedules
with alien abductions, séance and bent spoons,
an hypothesis buried in science’s pending tray,
the personal friend of the mad and the sad—

then Einstein and Bohr showed us twice and for all
with a relative bound and a quantum leap
that truth is in the beholder’s eye

so you became a point of view,
an option plan for long-term reward,
a custom-designed portfolio,
one more diversion to lose us again—

Big Daddy, CEO of the universe,
cosmic designer, ghost in the machine,
lunatic fringe, made in everyone’s image—

we’ve followed you in lukewarm pursuit
to a certain place at a certain time,
too easily fooled by your many disguises:
you don’t let the grass grow beneath your pierced feet—

leaving at last your human touch,
son, brother, subversive, teacher,
hero, victim, corpse and then

one thing’s for sure,
whoever we think you are
you are
not who we think you are.

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