Poem: Letter to God

Ethan Goffman
Dear God,

This letter isn’t really to or about you,
but about myself, since I can’t conceive
who or what or if you are.

Although maybe it’s about
trying to find myself through finding you,
or find you through finding myself,
or lose myself through finding you,
or, although I think this the least likely,
losing you through finding myself.

All I can say is
I tried pretty hard in this life,
though probably not hard enough,
did better than I expected or have a right to,
didn’t hurt anyone too badly
or at least not as badly as others hurt me.

Is it all about love, as the poets say,
Or is it the mystics who say that, or the theologians or philosophers?
Maybe it’s just the Beatles who say that?

In any case, I do love
my wife and my cat.
Perhaps I love myself more,
although I hate myself
a little bit each day.

God, do you mind if I address you
by your proper name.
Like Madonna or Beyonce or Cher,
you use only
that one appellation.
Not John Q. God or Janie Deity,
but Yahweh or Allah or Jesus,
perhaps Brahma or Buddha 
or any of a hundred thousand names
all meaning the same infinite,
the inexpressible,
yet strangely
Your name is blotted out,
partially and intermittently, by
those who fear saying the unsayable,
reducing you to G-d or YHWH
(how strange to fear speaking the name
of that entity said to have birthed us,
to love us)
(how strange that this entity so often strikes terror).

I confess,
after 60 years on this planet,
I still have no idea
who or what the hell you are
(sorry for the curse—please don’t strike me dead!)
or what might constitute you
or you might constitute
or why we exist
or whether we’re, perhaps, just an illusion,
a god delusion.

Still, here we are,
we are here,
here are we,
we think therefore we be.
Our consciousness trickles,
meanders, bounces,
the hard problem,
each fleeting thought part of a puzzle,
without a solution.

Perhaps to solve it would make

So I curl up with my wife and cat
and a good book that fails to explain
the meaning of it all.

Walking across me, the cat
leaps suddenly
scratching me with her back claws,
blissfully unaware of the pain she’s caused.

My wife had a spat of anger
earlier today
when I failed to pick up
her favorite yoghurt.
The one you love
always hurts you.

Twenty years old, the cat
pees in corners
saturating our house.
Is it the smell of love?

I await with dread
the death of
the cat,
perhaps of my wife, 
who suffers unexplained
heart palpitations,
my own,
although when that happens
I may be blissfully

Dear God
(and I mean the phrase “Dear God”
as a compliment and a curse),

It is futile to beg you to reveal all.
Almost certainly, it’s best that I don’t know.
After all,
the multitude of priests, imams, rabis, ministers,
mystics, atheists, psychics,
who claim to understand the clues left in documents,
written by humans, perhaps divinely inspired, here and there,
or the chemists, biologists, physicists, 
who struggle to decipher
the clues left by light and water and fossil records,
who claim to begin to understand
evolution, the big bang, quarks, the Higgs bosun particle, dark matter,
the multiverse . . . 
know no more than I do.


  1. Nice poem for Easter morning, even if I don't celebrate. :-)

  2. You are more spiritual than you are aware of Ethan! Your perception is correct! God is LOVE! And WE love because he first loved us!! His love is surely in you! I confirm it! The hunger to know who he is is directly related to who you are because ....as He is in this world so.....reach for this.....So are you!! But the hunger to know him is from your heart, where he lives! But our minds are in emnity with that knowlege that comes from the heart. It is spirit and life, like Him!

  3. I love this poem.


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