Whether I believe it or not, there is a God?

In the service of a neighbour,
to mark the end of her life as devoted
Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother,
you glance up at me; an unknown of most of the family -
with the blow of a salesman - pitching the wild rap
that you know there are those here among us
who do not believe in God.

Across her coffin, it could - and certainly should, never - never have
been irrelevant-me-alone that your then, from my-direction more highly
sweeping gaze, cast up and down across the pews of hurting people.

Looking for a place to take this, bruising -
aggressive, echo repeated hollow love sound bite,

that, "Whether we believe it or not, there is a God."

We will one day stand before him, and he loves us,
so, so much. He gives us hope, where there is none

and sadness without. Among the sadness of people.

Why would you drag on people like that?

Was it some pointed generalisation, upon a stone wall assured
percentage in so many of these unrecognised faces

that there always are, at these times the very strayed
who blindly beg be saved by these otherwise so alien words to them

of yours, in this hard time, in this sad place?

Or was it another stab at rejected reassurance to a known element
of the family who had maybe expressed a certain disbelief in God -
in your briefing of her wishes, upheld for her above their own?

We had all church-bound, even atheist I -
sung our way through "The Old Rugged Cross".

I know I should not - and - could not possibly make
any fuss - and we all know we must let these things pass over
ourselves for others to dwell upon, but for now in the moment
should I shed an expression of regret for my being there?

After all, I do not - and will never - believe.

I will never believe.

For the memory of Glenys, I display a little love
and not the slightest Aggression, but why as an Atheist
should I or anyone else among us be so shaken from any,
even the furthest removed and weakest display of
affection or the simplest payment of respect to a life
with always a bright smile, so openly well lived?

No black, only bright colours.

It meant something more than that lonely, bitter
and twisted sadness to say an open goodbye to you before
my angry little atheist lunch today.

by Gareth Rosser