In the beginning there was MAN,
a rational, featherless, laughing,
sex-driven, alienated being,
who decided he was lonely.

And MAN said:
"Let there be light." And there was light:
fluorescent bulbs and incandescent bulbs,
neon signs and halogen head lights,
sun lamps and mercury vapor lamps,
General Electric and Sylvania,
all blinking on and off.

And MAN used this light to end the darkness.
And night was day; and day was night.
And all was light. (At the touch of a switch).
And MAN saw the light and said he could see.

And MAN said:
"Let there be lights to rule the East
and lights to rule the West."
And MAN made
Connecticut Power & Light to rule New England
and Con Edison to rule New York.
And to each state he assigned its own light.
(And the rest of the world burned matches.)
And MAN divided the greater lights from the lesser lights,
and he divided East from West.

And MAN said:
"Let there be heaven and earth." And they were.
And MAN made fertilizers and chemicals
to increase the output of his farms;
he used dredges to reclaim the swamps
and urban renewal projects to rebuild his cities.
He used barometers and thermometers
and cloud-seeding devices
to predict and control the weather.
And he sent rockets into space
to follow the paths of his telescopes,
and built satellites and space stations
to monitor the earth and probe the heavens.
And MAN saw he had polluted the earth
and longed to conquer the heavens.

And MAN said:
"Let there be life." And he studied it.
He dissected frogs and injected rats
and locked mice in Skinner boxes.
He studied microbes and viruses with his microscope
and he re-engineered the structure of living cells.
He studied guinea pigs and even analyzed himself.
He invented the world of Id
and inhabited it with egos and super-egos,
with psychoses and Oedipus complexes,
sibling rivalries and paranoic schizophrenia.
And MAN said:
"This is life."

And MAN said:
"Let there be God."  But he couldn't decide
what type of god he should have.
So he first made God
with a cat's head or a bull's body,
or in the shape of an eagle or the sun.
But these did not satisfy MAN,
and so he made God in his own image.
He gave him a halo and a long white beard.
And he told him he was infinite and eternal,
omniscient and omnipresent,
perfect and incomprehensible,
and on MY side. In fact,
he told him he was so much on MY side
that he died for ME.  So I am saved
and whatever I want to do is his will.
And MAN made God and set him on a pedestal
and went back to his work and blew himself up.

And in the end there was God.

-- Mahlon H Smith

 

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* Author's note: This is an updated revision of a piece that was first published
on the back cover of , the magazine of the Methodist Student Movement,
volume 21/4 (January 1961).

Author's photo: "New Creation"
dawn over new under sea volcano south of Iceland
(January 1965)


Collected Poems
of
Mahlon H Smith

copyright 2005
all rights reserved