I think of death, not often

I know it’s going to happen to me

I’ve been getting closer to it all my life

A relentless one-way journey

That began at the moment of my conception

I wonder what it will be like

Drifting off

Or abruptly switched off

Into an eternal sleep

Difficult to get my mind around it

Surely I’m going to wake up


My consciousness returned

In some sort of afterlife, an irresistible thought

Exploited by religions

To control human behaviour in this life

Is there hope for an atheist like me

I can hear a thundering NO

From the believers

I have no extenuating circumstances to plead on the day of judgement

I cannot say yes I did all those awful things but I believe in you, oops, You

I did not pray daily, actually I did not pray at all

I didn’t read the Bible

I sometimes went to church

For weddings, funerals, a christening or two

My only defence will be that I tried to be honest and kind and helpful

In a sometimes bumbling, inconsistent way

Sometimes selfishness and greed held sway

Sometimes I succumbed to an angry impulse

But generally I landed on the right side of the ledger

When it’s all totalled up

I could have done better, for sure

But I didn’t

I don’t know why

My heart’s always been in the right place

I admit, I didn’t put all the moments that came my way to the best possible use

To serve humanity, myself included

And, unlike those who worship you

Who are able to wipe their slates clean

After performing acts of penitence

Mine is never wiped clean, only added to

I cannot afford to fill it up

Two or more slates are sure to be frowned upon at your pearly gates

I can even now see the finger of condemnation directing me downwards

So I try to be good, kind, honest, loving, never hurtful

Not to keep my slate clean

It is easier to live that way


More fulfilled

You may say I’m selfish

But I’ve stumbled on a secret I’m happy to share

Contributing to the happiness of others is the best way to live

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