Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Atheist’s Creed

File:RothkoFourDarksRed.jpgLike smoke from a hot fire,
we briefly soil the air,
then vanish and disperse to nothingness--

The souls ruling our bodies,
like rainclouds drifting in sky,
suddenly scatter in cold north wind,
gone traceless in vastness--

Nothing exists after death,
and death is not a state--
only the end of the final lap
of fleeting life--

Greedy men, stop hoping for reward--
Anxious men, stop fearing punishment--
Time’s rapacious jaws devour us whole--
Death cannot be divided:
it destroys the body,
does not spare the soul--

There is no Hell, no savage god who rules the dead,
no guardian dog to hinder your escape--
These are just idle folktales, empty words,
myth, woven into nightmare--

Where will I lie when I am dead?” you ask--

You will lie among things never born.

(Seneca, The Trojan Women, Act II, Lines 393-407, Trans. Frederick Ahl)

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