Do I Believe by Noel Coward

Do I believe in God?
Well yes, I suppose, in a sort of way.
It’s really terribly hard to say.
I’m sure there must be, of course
Some kind of vital, motive force,
Some power that holds the winning cards
Behind life’s ambiguous facades
But whether you think me odd or not
I can’t decide if it’s God or not.

I look at the changing sea and sky
And try to picture Eternity
I gaze at immensities of blue
And say to myself ‘It can’t be true
That somewhere up in that abstract sphere
Are all the people that once were here
Attired in white and shapeless gowns
Sitting on clouds like eiderdowns
Plucking on harps and twanging lutes
With cherubim in their birthday suits,
Set in an ageless, timeless dream
Part of a formulated scheme
Formulated before the Flood
Before the amoeba left the mud
And, stranded upon a rocky shelf
Proceeded to subdivide itself.’

I look at the changing sea and sky
And try to picture Infinity
I gaze at a multitude of stars
Envisaging the men on Mars
Wondering if they too are torn
Between their sunset and their dawn
By dreadful night-engendered fears
Of what may lie beyond their years
And if they too, through thick and thin,
Are dogged by consciousness of Sin.
Have they, to give them self-reliance,
A form of Martian Christian Science?
Or do they live in constant hope
Of dispensations from some Pope?

Are they pursued from womb to tomb
By hideous prophesies of doom?
Have they cathedral, church or chapel
Are they concerned with Adam’s Apple?
Have they immortal souls like us
Or are they less presumptuous?

Do I believe in God?
I can’t say No and I can’t say Yes
To me it’s anybody’s guess
But if all’s true that we once were told
Before we grew wise and sad and old
When finally Death rolls up our eyes
We’ll find we’re in for a big surprise.

Noel Coward
1899-1973

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About Russell Boyle

Russell Boyle is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. His poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness. Russell is the author of the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 to 10 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Sample poems and questions may be downloaded from http://russellboyle.com
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