WordPress has a problem

WordPress has a problem with formatting poetry. I recently changed templates hoping it would be easier, but to no avail. So back to posting about politics and atheism. If anybody reading this has any suggestions on how to format poetry on a WordPress blog, I’m all ears.

God His true self did reveal:
“Avoid all the false gods with zeal.”
He made one mistake:
All the others are fake
But gave us no hint which is real.
-A. de Paoli

Atheist limericks: “My Daughter’s Question”

What parent hasn’t asked themselves just what they will say when asked that most proverbial of all questions? Clearly many recycle answers even they don’t believe. “God has mysterious ways.” That kind of thing. Others of us wonder if perhaps there isn’t a better solution, one approaching intellectual honesty. Thus, the following limerick.

“My Daughter’s Question”

If God is benevolent, why
do all living things have to die?
One day I’ll be asked
such a question, and tasked
to resist all temptation to lie

The art of the biblical limerick

A few years ago the Guardian posted a story on Rev. Christopher Goodwins, who rewrote the Bible in limerick verse. Readers of this blog know that I’ve been working up my own repertoire of atheist limericks, some of which deal with biblical themes. First, the Rev. Goodwins:

An Ishleham vicar called Chris
wrote scripture in limericks. “This
should help people read,
about Jesus, indeed,
and enjoy it – not give him a miss.”
Now me:
The Bible’s a book full of stories
of God’s wrath at human vainglories,
of murder and war
and oh, so much more
you’d feel sick if you heard what the score is.
I think we’ve managed to read two different books with the same title.

Atheist limericks: “Unintelligent Design”

Today’s limerick is on (un)intelligent design. Proponents of so-called “intelligent design” are always rambling on about watchmakers and 747s being whipped up by the Maker from the junkyard of spare biological parts lying around. They make it sound like everything is so intentionally, wonderfully designed that there can only be One Answer as to how things are as they are. But they never seem to distinguish the miserable from the horrible, as Woody Allen once said. We are all miserable. But why would an “intelligent” designer design my deviated septum? Or my wife’s intestines? Or my mother’s knees? Why such horror?

“Unintelligent Design”

If life on this earth was designed
with all of us neatly in mind
why isn’t it clear
just why we are here,
not to mention the crippled and blind?

Atheist limericks: “The Pope”

Limericks are flooding my notebooks, yielding all sorts of interesting results. I write them in the train on the way to work, over breakfast, in my sleep. I’ve even committed a few pornographic limericks – the truest to the form – which you won’t read here, to memory.

Again, feel free to cut and paste in the comments section of your favorite atheist blog, or tweet them, or put them up on your own blog. Or read them and forget about them, or whatever. Here’s today’s limerick.

“The Pope”

He once ruled over vast wastes of land
with a nonchalant wave of his hand
but confined to an isle
of protected square mile
now he broods in his kingdom of sand.

Atheist limericks: “Pharyngula”

I’ve been penning limericks lately. I wouldn’t publish more serious poetry on my own blog, but I figure limericks are topical, humorous and eminently memable. So feel free to cut and paste in the comments section of your favorite atheist blog, or tweet them, or put them up on your own blog. Or read them and forget about them. Whatever. This one is called


PZ once enraged a whole slew
of religious fanatics – he threw
a Qur’an in the trash
and then with a dash
of élan, he threw in Dawkins, too.

Stay tuned for further atheist limericks!

The New Hypatia

– for Ayaan Hirsi Ali


There once was a actress named Weisz
whose bashful, compassionate eyes
inspired us to rate
her Hypatia as great
and to weep when the heroine dies.


What little we know of her life
is bound up in trouble and strife
of an era in which
they thought her a witch
because she was nobody’s wife.


Neither Christian nor pagan nor Jew
she was one of the relative few
who today we would call
a freethinker, et al.
then degrade in the New York Review.*

* of Books

Meme this: if you like these limericks, you can help create a meme. Pass them around on the internet. Hopefully they will reach Rachel Weisz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali! Remeber, this is an experiment.

How? Be imaginative. Post a comment on Pharyngula, or RichardDawkins.net. Dawkins coined the word “meme.” Send it to your atheist cousin, or uncle.

What’s a meme? Anything that can be passed from one brain to another. If you wish to know more about the obscure reference to the NYRB, just google “Enlightenment fundamentalist.”

If you haven’t seen Agora, check Wikipedia for the basic outline of Hypatia of Alexandria’s life. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has lived with bodyguards and armed escorts for years because of her freethinking views. She was born in Somalia.