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Nov 05 2009

Cuttlefish Classics: I Thought I Saw An Atheist

Image: Michael McRae

I thought I saw an atheist, once, walking down the street.
I checked for horns, I checked for tail, I checked for cloven feet;
Began to tremble frightfully—my heart was in my throat—
Then sighed in happy recognition, for ‘twas but a goat.

I thought I saw an atheist, down near a swollen stream
With scaly skin, and blood so cold, I couldn’t breathe to scream!
I looked into his bulging eyes, and prayed “God, grant my wish”
Then laughed in my embarrassment—it only was a fish.

I thought I saw an atheist, with fur and pointed claws,
And wicked teeth for chewing up Judeo-Christian laws,
I ran, and tripped, and fell to earth, then hid behind a log—
It caught me, though, and licked my face—of course, it was a dog.

I thought I saw an atheist, though cleverly disguised
Not giant and reptilian, but human, normal sized,
It looked to be engaging in productive, useful labor;
But no, this was no atheist—this person was my neighbor!

I thought I saw an atheist; in fact, I saw a few!
My neighbor, and the grocer, and the cop, and maybe you!
I even found some in the church, right there beneath the steeple;
It turns out, to my great surprise… that atheists are people.

As I said before, I’m re-posting some of my favorites (and yours, if you let me know which ones) during this kinda sorta Fall Fundraiser Drive (tip jar over there on the right).

This verse is one of my favorites, and such a versatile structure! It was revisited twice (so far), first in a case of a Chicago state representative shouting down an atheist at a public meeting, as if atheists were somewhere below flatworms on her scale of respect:

…I thought I saw an atheist, upon the witness stand
It couldn’t be! Not where I live! This is a Christian Land!
The Constitution guarantees my right to scream and shout;
As the Good Lord is my witness, I demanded “You! Get out!”

I thought I saw an atheist demand an equal voice;
I told him he could leave right now, and that could be his choice.
I said his view was dangerous–our children must not hear!
It goes against the Bible, which our government holds dear!

I thought I saw an atheist nod quietly, and sigh.
The odds were stacked against him, which no person can deny;
What happens when a person is denied his civil right?
I may have seen an atheist who’s now convinced to fight.


And then once more, when Liddy Dole’s senatorial campaign tried to gain votes by accusing her opponent of cozying up to … of all things… atheists!

I thought I saw an atheist
Approach a voting booth—
Her voice was shrill, her eyes were wide
Her manner quite uncouth;
She tried to force her views on us
And exercise control—
I looked again—I’m wrong once more
Why, this was Liddy Dole.

I thought I saw an atheist
Discriminate and hate;
Deride a weak minority
Because the hour’s late—
To try to stir the masses
She’s been losing in the polls;
I looked again, and listened well—
Those words were Liddy Dole’s

I thought I saw an atheist,
So “radical” and “vile”
Wage war against America–
A villain with a smile
Promoting hate, promoting fear
For petty, selfish gain—
I looked again, and clearly saw
The Liddy Dole campaign

I thought I saw an atheist
Stand up and say “no more!”
I will not be your scapegoat
Like so many times before!
Americans, stand up as Christian
Muslim, Jew, and Pagan,
Or atheist, or anything,
And cast your vote for Hagan!

2 comments

  1. 1
    Mike

    Excellent! May I try?I thought I saw an atheist, it made me quite confused.It seemed just like two animals, together had been fused!I looked again and clearly saw, that I was in some luck.For the thing I saw before me, was just a crocoduck!

  2. 2
    rejistania

    This is my favorite poem on your site :)

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