IF GOD EXISTED NOT

by Luis G. Dato

O God, I hear it said that You are dead,
Lived ne’er below or out in space o’erhead,
That Hell or Heaven, extent if at all,
Are just in us, no Doomsday and no Fall.

But God, I know that one day I will die,
Today perhaps, some morrow far or nigh,
And what to me will come will likewise be
The fate of all who share mortality.

For man is mortal, no exceptions made,
The rich with all their canopy of gold
And beautiful will die, their beauty fade,
Will not one moment Charon’s ferry hold.

Nor yet the kings with instruments of power
Postpone when due their own appointed hour,
For life, a miracle, is borrowed breath
That late or soon must pay its due to death.

O God, all this I know, and though I be
Here eight decades or e’en a century,
‘Tis obvious, are the end, we’re each a guest
Wayfaring to the realms of death addrest.

Of course, O God, all this is plain to see,
And, painful, ever dwells in memory,
If You lived not, were there no after-life,
What boots it then to live, and all the strife?

For beauty, the fulfillment of desire
For power for which the hearts of men aspire,
For wealth which earthly comfort to us gives
Since dust to mortal dust sums of our lives?

Then God, why were we here to born to the earth
What is the ultimate to human birth?
What reason in the cosmos can we show
Gave man a mind his tragic fate to know?

If You did not exist, who then has made
The stars in orbit in the skies displayed?
Of all phenomena who was the cause,
The physical and moral order who made laws?

If You did not exist but as mirage
On the horizon to each passing age,
If when we die, like dogs we cease to be,
No other life but this, no memory —

How sad, how tragic would be human fate,
And how illogical, disconsolate,
Considering the infinite of space,
The vast potentials of the human race!

And that is why despite the postulates
Of mind, blind alleys ending at death’s gates,
I trust in You, O God, in You have faith —
Believing thus, I triumph over death!

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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