Rhyme of the Ancient Atheist, or, A Poetic Outline of the Epicurean System

’Twas in a garden, near the shore,
Of blue Aegean Sea,
That man employed philosophy
To prove a being greater than he
is unreal and a bore.

’Twas long ago and far away,
But such men still live near us,
Descended from, like as peas with,
Their father Epicurus.

His doctrines time has not improved,
They were and are too specious;
The words his children now declaim
Are better in Lucretius.

Assuming first a face benign,
So as to convey care,
Children of the garden sage
Still lay the ancient snare.

The universe is not, they say,
A work of art or wit,
But rather like an eddy
Swirls with atoms infinite.

As time is likewise without bound,
This huge and swirling mess,
Sometimes will, and then by chance,
Happen to coalesce.

And that’s how you, my friend, were made,
And that’s how made was I,
And when at last we are unmade,
We just emulsify.

’Tis fortune stirs the swirling cloud
Of atoms dead and blind;
And fortune stirs it with no plan,
Nay stirs it with no mind.

But stirring fortune has by chance
Caused sometimes to congeal,
A morsel sweet, a toothsome clot,
A pleasure we can feel.

From all of this you may deduce
Your heart and soul and essence,
Which is to swill morsels and clots
From your first coalescence,

And so to swill all toothsome sweets
Churned by the great gyration,
Until your swilling it concludes
By emulsification.

6 thoughts on “Rhyme of the Ancient Atheist, or, A Poetic Outline of the Epicurean System

  1. Pingback: Sunday Morning Coffee – 12/19/2021 – A Mari Usque Ad Mare

  2. Thanks, Alan. I remember some years back that you liked the mix of high and low in my old “knucklehead news” posts. Good-natured laughing at our opponents is good for the soul, and may be effective evangelism.

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