Sunday, October 31, 2010


For my mother who talks about god

She conceived me deliberately
on a waxing moon. My father
was a Rationalist.
She had luck on her side.
He believed in her version
of most things. She'd knuckled him out
of his safe life, the wife
complaining, the lawn and cocktails
women flirting their tennis knickers.
He believed you do good
for the sake of doing good.
Her horoscope
told her the world would open up
and she could just step right in
throwing down her spare change.

I walked out this evening, thinking about god.
The cold sky mocked my hasty shawl.
The dog scratched around, sniffing at recent puddles.
Above us the stars blinked on and off.
I didn't care what was next,
who was right; the Falling Tower
or the laws of probability.

I call you many things -
oilsheen on asphalt
the $2.00 daffodils
these words typed on the screen
those stars
that woman and man
or any woman, any man
walking with me
- or another child -
between them
foolish with the smell of spring.

Catherine Bateson 2010

This poem was written because my mother seems to be constantly querying the secular society and whether the children have been disenfranchised by the waning of religious practice and the rise of atheism. She was a Theosophist - among some pretty crazy beliefs, they believed sensibly in comparative religions. My father was a Rationalist. My children are atheists. I attended Quaker meeting off and on for some years. This poem is my response to my mother's concerns.

1 comment:

Cartillyer said...

Gillian Welch is right, but if you're going to give some of your writing to us for free, I think the least we can do is leave a comment to thank you for the free gift, so I'd like to say, 'Beautiful, please keep them coming.'