Old Man at the Door
by Larry Verburg

The old man at the door
asked if I’d been reborn.
He blinks in the bright sunlight,
an owl got up
in fancy dress.
I start to tell him the truth,
my truth, that brooks no
organized religion, no dogma,
and no belief in hell, except
for the one we create ourselves
on earth. Indeed, I am a Zen
Buddhist, or perhaps a Druid.

What’s the use, I think, I’ll
not change his mind
obviously well set, for him
to go out proselytizing.

God save me from cock-sure
men who want everyone
to think as they do, who
would deny the real
Jesus spoke of love
tolerance, and forgiving.
The real Jesus, if he’d
retuned and walked up to
this old, self-satisfied
bible-thumper, would have
sent him on his way, with
words like angry bees. I’m
sure he’d say, “Before I
could wish men to teach my words,
I’d desire them first to live them.”

He holds the
bible like a gun. To him
it’s a weapon to chase
away the unrighteous
those without his own beliefs.
Surely such as those are condemned
to eternal fires. We are sinners
in his angry hands. And as the
sun glinted on his glasses,
I smile at him, and to save a
lecture we’d both regret,
I simply tell him, “Yes.”

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