They peddle fear here:
They peddle fear of terrorists and sudden death,
They peddle fear of rapists and angry drivers,
They peddle fear of government and paying tax,
Of deer ticks, butter, sugar, fat, untested drugs;
Of unknown visitors and dark-skinned men,
Of invasion, war and sudden death,
Of gunmen holding up cashiers,
Of bombs in culverts, school kids murdered with guns.
They peddle inquietudes, nervousness, distrust,
And to the terrified, apprehensive, cowed,
They preach damnation, hellfire in the afterlife.
The more they frighten us the more it gains the vote.
And the opinion-makers drivel on in biased turpitude,
Yapping in support of party, church and power.
Command, empire, sway, rule, dominion, supremacy
All depend on mongering fear and bald mendacity.
But then there is Epicurus,
His character assassinated by the church,
Maligned, misrepresented, damned by rote.
He only sought a tranquil mind, a life of peace,
Fearing nothing. For fear, he said, brings pain.
As for politics? Striving, ambition, restlessness.
There are no active gods, said he, no afterlife,
No spirit out there, evil or benign,
Rewarding, punishing, damning you to hell,
No trumpets, choirs, or seats of the almighty.
Just atoms, molecules, and, in them, everlasting life.
No devils, angels, harps, or golden cities;
No god resembling, oh!, coincidence! a man!
No omniscient god who reads your thoughts,
Or manages the minutiae of your life.
Your life, indeed! Your life it is, subject to fortune,
Tribulations, ups and downs, but in the end just yours.
Try not to chafe and fret, but seek a mental peace.
Pursue the arts, activities you love.
Don’t worry over things you can’t affect.
Seek simple pleasures, food and friends.
Forsake consumerism, shops and malls,
Buying only what you really need.
Do no harm. Mend fences where required.
Cultivate your garden and your peace,
Or get a dog.
All to be done in moderation and with joie de vivre,
For simple pleasures trump all wild excess.
Be fun, be smiling, for life is to be lived – –
What follows lasts a long, long time,
Should some abuse you as an atheist,
Remember! it is a propaganda word, and just a word,
Spoken by people with their own agenda
Follow Epicurus! Till your garden, walk your dog,
Enjoy Nature while we have it still.
Reject all superstition, think for yourself
Believe not the religious memes of modern life.
Be gentle, thoughtful and and ask yourself…
Why do they peddle fear here?
(Written in January 2006 by Robert Hanrott)