POEM: by Colin JoryNews Weekly
Enlightened Willie's Prayer
, December 22, 2012
(A “sequel” to Robbie Burns’ “Holy Willie’s Prayer”)
O Evolution, thou procreant non-thing,
That into being whatever lives did bring
Through random atoms intermingling
And purgative attrition;
I bless thy fertile non-intentioning
That I am its fruition.
I thank thee nightly on bended knee
That the Big Bang’s spew of dead debris
Congealed as sun, earth, air, moon, sea,
Then stirred as life hereditable,
And oozed, crawled, slouched — towards Humanity!
’Twas truly creditable!
All praise, that cells did synchronize
In blind embrace to give Life eyes,
As lenses, muscles and neural ties
In lidded sockets by chance right-sized
To nest all neatly!
What triumph of thy matchless might
When Man at last breathed whole, despite
The lack of plan or oversight
In his formation;
And found at hand all requisites
To thrive! O Jubilation!
How oft, ere this, did limbs and feet
Bud forth his trunk at points unmeet,
While stumpy proto-man hobbled to compete
’Gainst tooth and claw?
And after two legs made him fleet,
How apt to sprout not more!
What was I, or my generation,
To be thus favoured by chance mutation,
When every thwarted configuration
Of matter and function
Craved to frustrate integration
And wreak disjunction!
O Evolution, that finds perfection
Without volition or direction,
By vagrant change and natural selection,
How great thou art!
No force, material or ethereal,
Can ape thy part!
And last, my thanks that I’m enlightened;
Unlike those who, by truth’s glare frightened,
And by theistic fancies blighted
Imagine cosmic plan.
May thy disciples see them righted!
Dr Colin H. Jory is a Canberra school-teacher, historian, Shakespeare scholar and social analyst. This poem was originally published by Fr Paul Stenhouse, MSC (editor), in Annals Australasia, March 22, 2007, as “An Atheist’s Prayer: Dedicated to Richard Dawkins”, and more recently in St Austin Review (USA), Nov-Dec 2012, as “Enlightened Willie’s Prayer”.