Head’s Up poetry column: God’s Grandeur

God’s Grandeur

By Philip Appleman

“God will laugh at the trial of the innocent.”

-Job, 9:23

When they hunger and thirst, and I send down a famine,

When they pray for the sun, and I drown them with rain,

And they beg me for reasons, my only reply is:

I never apologize, never explain.

When the Angel of Death is black wind around them

And children are dying in terrible pain,

Then they burn little candles in churches, but still

I never apologize, never explain.

When the Christians kill Jews, and Jews kill the Muslims,

And Muslims kill writers they think are profane,

They clamor for peace, or for reasons, at least,

But I never apologize, never explain.

When they wail about murder and torture and rape,

When unlucky Abel complains about Cain,

And they ask me just why I had planned it like this,

I never apologize, never explain.

Of course, if they’re smart, they can figure it out—

The best of all reasons is perfectly plain.

It’s because I just happen to like it this way—

So I never apologize, never explain.

From Karma, Dharma, Pudding & Pie

© Philip Appleman.

This poem has been set to music by Dan Barker. The song is available on FFRF’s CD, “Beware of Dogma,” available at ffrf.org/shop.

Philip Appleman is a Dis­tinguished Pro­fessor Emeri­tus at In­dia­na Uni­ver­si­ty. He is editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Darwin. His published volumes of poetry include New and Selected Poems: (1956-1996), Perfidious Proverbs and Other Poems: A Satirical Look at the Bible (2012), Darwin’s Ark (new 2009 edition) and Karma, Dharma, Pudding & Pie (2009). His newest book is The Labyrinth: God, Darwin and the Meaning of Life. He and his playwright wife, Marjorie Appleman, are both “After-Life” Members of FFRF. Phil’s books: ffrf.org/shop.