“The Fabulists” by William Childress

Best in my view to have left god alone,
secure in his cold, unreachable realm,
not to have made him the subject of psalms
for old Jews to scatter around like bones.
Best to believe each preposterous myth,
every hope-filled fable from ancient days,
swathed in ignorance, the hallmark of faith,
required superstition to kneel and pray.
Best to sell bits of wood, holy ark and cross,
guaranteeing luck if we’re properly awed,
or send lay preachers prayer money and costs
so they can scorn logic and say, “There’s a god.”
Best to believe that those fables still shine,
in a book created for stained glass minds.


Twice-nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, William Childress is an ex-paratrooper, Korean War veteran, and former National Geographic editor-writer. He has an MFA from the University of Iowa. His 15-year newspaper column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch resulted in a regional bestseller, Out of the Ozarks. In a 51-year career, he has published five books, 5000 magazine articles, 7000 photos, 350 poems, approximately 30 short stories, and a chapbook called Bumblebee Wars.

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