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Karma, Dharma, Pudding and Pie
Prayers for pagan skeptics

By Phillip Appleman

Excerpts from "Five Easy Prayers for Pagans", a poem by Philip Appleman, Free Inquiry 18(3), 17, Summer 1998. Philip Appleman is the author of New and Selected Poems 1956-1996, University of Arkansas Press, 1996.

Prayer 1 is to the flaky Goddess of Fortune
Bend down to us the sexy curve of Thine indifferent ear,
and hear our passionate invocation: let Thy lovely, lying
lips murmur to us the news of all our true-false guesses A-OK.

Prayer 2 is to Mammon
Thou hast more true disciples than all other gods together;
But when Thou comest to say we're finally in the gentry --
use the service entry.

Prayer 3 is to Venus, Cupid, Astarte
O lead us into the backrooms of silky temptation
and deliver us over to midnights of trembling desire. ...
But before all the nectar and honey leak out of this planet,
give us our passion in marble, commitment in granite.

Prayer 4 is to Shiva
Gentle Preserver, preserve the pure irreverence of our stubborn minds,
O target the priests, implacable Destroyer, and hire a lawyer.

Prayer 5 is for skeptics
O Karma, Dharma, pudding and pie,
gimme a break before I die:
grant me wisdom, will, and wit,
purity, probity, pluck, and grit.
Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind,
gimme great abs and a steel-trap mind.
And forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice --
these little blessings would suffice
to beget an earthly paradise --
make the bad people good
and the good people nice;
and before our world goes over the brink,
teach the believers how to think.

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