GOD, A POEM
~ by James Fenton
A nasty surprise in a sandwich,
A drawing pin caught in your sock,
The limpest of shakes from a hand which
You’d thought would be firm as a rock,
A serious mistake in a nightie,
A grave disappointment all round
Is all that you’ll get from th’Almighty,
Is all that you’ll get underground.
Oh he said, “If you lay off the crumpet
I’ll see you alright in the end.
Just hang on to the last trumpet.
Have faith in me, chum, I’m your friend.”
But if you remind him, he’ll tell you,
“I’m sorry, I must have been pissed–
Though your name rings sort of a bell. You
Should have guessed that I do not exist.
“I didn’t exist at Creation,
I didn’t exist at the Flood,
I won’t be around for Salvation
To sort out the sheep from the cud,
“Or whatever the phrase is. The fact is
In soteriological terms
I’m a crude existential malpractice
And you are a diet of worms.
“You’re a nasty surprise in a sandwich.
You’re a drawing pin caught in my sock.
You’re the limpest of shakes from a hand which
I’d have thought would be firm as a rock,
“You’re a serious mistake in a nightie,
You’re a grave disappointment all round,
That’s all that you are,” says th’Almighty,
“And that’s all that you’ll be underground.”
Finally God speaks to someone who is not psychotic– and it’s to the very satirical James Fenton.
“Crumpet” is here used as a crude slangy synonym for women. “I’ll see you alright” means I’ll take care of you. A “drawing pin” is a straight pin (used by a draftsman to affix his work to a drafting table.) “Pissed” means drunk in this context, as in “pissed to the gills.” “Sorteriological” means pertaining to matters of salvation. An “existential malpractice” is the attribution of existence to something that cannot be verifiably observed. And “diet of worms” punningly alludes to The Diet Of Worms of 1521, an assembly dealing with Martin Luther’s historic dissent from church doctrine.