James Fenton


God, A Poem


A nasty surprise in a sandwich,
A drawing-pin caught in your sock,
The limpest of shakes from a hand which
You'd thought would be firm as a rock,

A serious mistake in a nightie,
A grave disappointment all round
Is all that you'll get from th'Almighty,
Is all that you'll get underground.

Oh he said: 'If you lay off the crumpet
I'll see you alright in the end.
Just hang on until the last trumpet.
Have faith in me, chum-I'm your friend.'

But if you remind him, he'll tell you:
'I'm sorry, I must have been pissed-
Though your name rings a sort of a bell. You
Should have guessed that I do not exist.

'I didn't exist at Creation,
I didn't exist at the Flood,
And I won't be around for Salvation
To sort out the sheep from the cud-

'Or whatever the phrase is. The fact is
In soteriological terms
I'm a crude existential malpractice
And you are a diet of worms.

'You're a nasty surprise in a sandwich.
You're a drawing-pin caught in my sock.
You're the limpest of shakes from a hand which
I'd have thought would be firm as a rock,

'You're a serious mistake in a nightie,
You're a grave disappointment all round-
That's all you are, ' says th'Almighty,
'And that's all that you'll be underground.'

1983

Submitted: Sunday, April 20, 2003

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Comments about this poem (God, A Poem by James Fenton )

  • Rookie Bill (William) Phillips (4/14/2012 11:05:00 PM)

    Love it!
    I can almost hear his one time friend, Christopher Hitchens reciting it, with that characteristic dropp in pitch and amplitude at end of phrase. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Adriana Veloso (1/11/2009 7:55:00 AM)

    good writing...i agree totally (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Peter Legur (2/10/2007 4:26:00 AM)

    Painful reminder that whatever we attribute to God, plus or minus, is our
    own feeble projection that will come back to haunt us. He is great or nothing, we are nothing but desperate posing. (Report) Reply

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