On Being a Humanist

This is a poem written for the chaplaincy at HMP Highpoint.  Having been asked to write non-denominational poems for specific events such as poppy day and the harvest, I felt it only right that I should make my opinions known. It is of great credit to the chaplaincy that they gave me a platform for expression.This poem should actually be twinned with ‘On being a Vegan‘ and neither of them should be seen as seeking to be a great work of art, but rather as trying to deliver a message to those of the prison population who might be fed up with being treated as idiots with no desire to learn and no moral compass.

On Being a Humanist

Let this life of mine do minimal harm

As homage to humanity I pay

Neither to icons, of paint, wood or stone

Nor to heavenly spirits I pray


In that your views respect those of all others

I’ll fight for your right to believe

That you may practice whatsoever you preach

And your credo your doubts may relieve


Freedom to discuss all our differing views

Is an absolute human right

Provided the rules be applied to all

And no privilege be given to might


Accidents of birth are of no import

No person beyond the law

Let all be judged by what they have done

Not what they are, may think or stand for


Let all life be sacred, of man or beast,

All persons and property protected

Let the suffering of beings be reduced

And all human rights be respected


True humanist views must always be

Completely international

That all goodness be found in woman and man

A credo essentially rational


So I ask of my listeners to do unto me

As they would wish themselves to be treated

That we all join hands on belief’s divide

And that man-made mistrust be defeated


Let us open our hearts to humanity

As I express this humanist plan

Whatever the culture, the faith, the ethnicity

All salvation lies within man