God, A Poem (1983)

James Fenton

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links On

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 round
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 the 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 round-
That’s all you are’, says th’ Almighty,
‘And that’s all that you’ll be underground.’

Learn more about the language of this poem in the
Oxford English Dictionary:

soteriological