Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Pragmatic


When young I was an Atheist,
Yea, pompous as a pigeon
No opportunity I missed
To satirize religion.
I sneered at Scripture, scoffed at Faith,
I blasphemed at believers:
Said I: "There's nothing after Death,--
Your priests are just deceivers."

In middle age I was not so
Contemptuous and caustic.
Thought I: "There's much I do not know:
I'd better be agnostic.
The hope of immortality
'Tis foolish to be flouting."
So in the end I came to be
A doubter of my doubting.

Now I am old, with steps inclined
To hesitate and falter;
I find I get such peace of mind
Just sitting by an altar.
So Friends, don't scorn the family pew,
The preachments of the kirks:
Religion may be false or true,
But by the Lord!--it works.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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