I didn’t want to bother my mother—that’s what I remember most. I was choking on a lemon drop in the back seat of her Dodge Spirit, but she was driving and I didn’t want to bother her.
I had a dream: an angel said,
“Child, you are strong.”
He cautioned me with sober eyes,
“I won’t stay very long.
“I just came to tell you,
Though you’ll soon forget,
Even wrongs will serve you rightly
If you reason through regret.
“There are those that beg me
For help they wouldn’t need
If they’d only help themselves
By getting off their knees.
“If what you want is to impress me,
I’ll tell you what to do,
Don’t make yourself believe in God,
Make God believe in you.”
This having been said,
He left me thus adorned
With knowledge I was soon to lose,
For right then I was born.
I admit, this poem is a little Hallmark-y. But there are some interesting ideas here. I was fifteen when I wrote this, and had recently finished reading Ayn Rand‘s The Fountainhead. I’m not sure if this poem is Objectivist, though. It’s more existential, though I wouldn’t have any formal idea of what existentialism was for another five years.
Something else in here is that idea at the end, about being born and thus losing all knowledge. It’s very much like Socrates’ explanation for how human beings can go from not knowing something to knowing it. (He argues that all learning is actually just remembering: before we had bodies, we were souls that looked upon the Forms — Beauty, Truth, Courage, Wisdom, and so on — and knew everything. Then, we were put into bodies, and our souls were distracted by things like hunger and sex drive, so we forgot it all.)
So it’s rhyme-whymey. I still like it. If there must be a deity at all (and I’m happily agnostic, so in my opinion there mustn’t be), we should endeavor — I think — to be exemplary humans rather than helpless, impressionable, weak ones. If I were a supreme being, I’d be really lonely for someone of whom to be proud.