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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 around
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 until 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 a 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.
And 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 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 around---
'That's all you are,' says th'Almighty,
'And that's all that you'll be underground.'

-1983

*crumpet - British slang for women
**pissed - pissed drunk
*^soteriological - of or relating to the branch of Christian theology that deals with salvation as the effect of a divine agency