Poets Online Archive

We receive more unsolicited/unprompted poems about religion than any other topic. We've stayed away from the topic in our own prompts until now.

Carl Dennis' poem, "The God Who Loves You", (from his Pulitzer Prize winner, Practical Gods) is about religion, about God, and more. For me, it is about lives unlived, your many futures, the other person you were destined to meet on your second-choice college campus - the things that has God pacing the bedroom at night.

So we will write about religion, and God, but specifically about God's thoughts about you.

No proselytizing, no diatribes. Just you and God.


Writing and sermons about religion are unconvincing.
There is little in the massive volumes of "God's Word,"
that impresses or convinces. It is, after all, life reflected.
The Bible holds many truths, but is also negative for living.
Other books of inspired faith, composed by new prophets
receiving God's special messages, continue to support
varied beliefs and claims of being chosen messengers.
There are enough around us to create on-going doubt.
My dubious verdict centers on man's tampering with God's
presence and purpose, and it confuses.
That is serious intrusion, because intelligent beings
must have more than expanded stories about divine acts,
miracles, and dreamed of rewards from faith.
Isn't it enough to have been born - in whatever form?
Are we continually grateful to The Great Creator
for the perfect miracle of giving us life and purpose?
My God is a positive one. He knows I am awed and
thankful for his kindness to me and those I love.
The Power Force to which I respond doesn't burden
me with guilt, nor does it threaten to strike me,
for to do so would be to dissolve our compact:
That I will love God with all my heart and soul,
and he, will love and care for me
as long as I am worthy of his complete love.
I cannot worship a religion, nor a church, nor man
whom other men have elevated above me by worldly rules.
To do so, breaks my covenant with a God who understands,
and permits me to know him as my lifelong friend.

F. William Broome


Spaciousness is never finite
In all the layers of evolution
Steps bath in lavender green luminosity
Yellow golden that sings wonder
the spectrum absorbent and calling
Vastness is the final journey
unending duration in gladness

In the housing project
a crushed woman feels
confined and narrow
moves in her white plaster cage
a coop constructed for economy
Finding kitchen walls that block
Fortresses she cannot topple
Rooms that squeeze her
Inside and out

All of her is blank claustrophobic
The creator feels her damp infection
As the chopped up woman
delves deep into the human and mangled
The eternal flame invisible between her eyes
Church bells whistling beat the air
No hymns pass through the walls

The creator’s body is red with irritation
In the basin of eternity he yearns for conversation
“I can’t get over this "the creator bellows
while polishing nails gurgling the red of human blood

Near the river he made
blue liquid quantum ink splatters the grass
from heaven and spirals downward
into fragrant conundrums
Nothing is that tight
That it can’t be praised or floated upon

“If you are anything square
it is my reflection
a silken bow wrapped
topping your head
Find me in my gift of breathing
In the moving of arms eyes, feelings
Find me in the opening and closing
Of your hand as you push
against the wired walls

Elizabeth P. Glixman


I wish I could write more
but they discourage writing
and I hope that the photo
on the other side will
give you a good idea
of what its like here.
I'm looking forward
to seeing you.

Lianna Wright


I am looking for a special word
Like the three points of a circle
God and luck and chance,
As in providence the deity
Who thinks ahead...
And she said to me
There is no guarantee.

Those children's programs
I heard on the radio between jobs
Have phrases like a soft ball lob,
"'This family has to stop
Responding to the world,
With,' "If only we had done that,
If only we thought and did not bat."

I got a foretaste of a nice girl
Who had a soft blonde curl
And an unhappy marriage,
That tipped me to be sage,
For she rammed a stopped school bus.
If it happened to us,
I'd get out to inspect the damage
And shake my head, "What a pearl!"

So it is not so odd
When I address you God,
Thank you for your care
And when I brush my hair
See in the mirror, us together
The oxen me tied to your tether.

Edward N. Halperin


The gifts I want from God
Are determined by the teachings of my church.
No bargaining.
No material gain.
Honor, praise and joy generously offered
May bring God’s gift, a life with peace of mind,
And strength for the coming week.

Ellen Kaplan


The room was white, like a bustling cathedral on Easter Sunday.
Icons dripped blood of purple saints as choirs started, stopped,
started, stopped singing as if they, too, were bleeding.
Jesus hung from His cross illuminated in a light that
shot right through me, and in soaked sheets,
a girl on a bed.
someone coughed,
and I held His hand as He stepped down from the cross
and said, 'I am the Way,' and I asked Him if this is the road to China,
and the congregation clapped,
and the ceiling disappeared through my back,
and the girl on the bed looked dead, but spoke in tongues
sharp as a razor when, somewhere,
someone coughed, and I

fell back and felt the bed beneath
when Jesus said, 'You can try forever,
but that is not the way to China.'



I have never had a good name for you,
and naming has always been important to me.
To name something has always helped me hold on,
allowed me to turn it slowly in my hands.

In Anglo-Saxon there are no words
for gray, green or yellow –
they are all called fallow.
Latin has no one word to say Yes or No.

When I was told that I was probably a Deist,
it sent me reading and I was comforted
to see that the founding fathers and others
had tried to put my thoughts into order.

The Buddhists talk of jobutsu
enlightenment after dying.
It makes more sense to me than a Buddha
who abandons his wife and children.

Einstein called God “The Old One”-
saying that he would not
play dice with the universe-
and made relativity a religion.

Have I made you so much
semantics - sign, symbol and meaning?
The desire to know.
The heuristic walk through this landscape.

Looking out at sunrise today from this place,
the bridges that I once had seen
are obscured by trees. I am in a valley-
dark and cold. Alone.

Ken Ronkowitz


All religions talk
to us
of God, humanity, love,
kindness, brotherhood of Man.
The problem lies in that the religions
don't agree with each other
Even when they talk of the same things.
There is a communication gap
And the losers here are men themselves.

They walk with blind eyes through this gap
smug in their superiority, their religion,
And forget about God

Those who try to bridge the gulf
get smashed to smithereens
by the raging hatred
Drowned and dumped at the edge of the shore
that knows no God-
Only religion.

Abha Iyengar


This geezer sitting behind the screen
Looks strangely like a life plan in one dimension
Set in a human image grown rigid
Yet more than alive always centered
And precise. Each feature true to measure
Unchanged by perspective or point of view
Not subject to the distortions of binocular
Abstraction my mind must reconstruct
When the world around me is my focus.

This geezer is always there and perpendicular
To my sight in every direction. Purely square
To a vision bound by parallax and diminishing
Perspective where light is my messenger of reality.
Within the sphere everything becomes clearer
As I move closer, larger and unprotected
By the Hawthorne Effect of my presence.
But the screen is always there behind and never
Walking away changes nothing, still the screen.

Thus I am convinced the geezer can only be an
Not mine, contrived of where Ive been
What I've done and the stories I have been told.
These views come from beyond space and time
A place where an entire universe is but a point.
Where I can be everywhere around it without
Needing to be anywhere but right there.

If such is the case, I am nothing but God
And who are you but me and all of us together
A simple part of an infinite number of receding
parallel lines
That fail to converge no matter how strongly
We magnify our gaze. What a dilemma if I desire two

Thus God without a purpose could not be conceived.
Two cannot exist without space in between.
Oh maybe not space like we think but dual presence
A line of sequence where my life begins to evolve.
Close that line upon itself and a circle describes the
plane of my existence.
That geezer who I thought I saw is trapped
On that screen that I use to describe who I am.

So who am I but an image free to be distorted
Made to believe reality is a box to get outside of.
Where the imagination is pure and fresh, a new
And you trapped on that screen like me
Can only be different because I allow it to be so.
Now I begin to understand this dilemma.
If I don't invent myself, there are not two, only one.

Alan R. Bender





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