Some tenderhearted people claim
We’re deficient self-esteem;
Yes, a collective sense of shame
Made despondency mainstream.
While gloom and sadness are the rage,
I suggest the torment of
Depression in our present age
Arises from self-love.

Narcissus so adored his face
It became his food and drink.
Of course, no feeling can replace
Facts, no matter what you think;
So he died, forlorn, at a pool,
Victim of his own ego.
Now he’s a byword for a fool,
Symbol of a pride-born woe.

Still, we get lost inside our mirrors,
Boast of every banal feat;
Like Narcissus, our own heart stirs
When face and reflection meet.
For us, the jacaranda blooms
Purple flowers for our mirth,
And jasmine yields its fragrant fumes
To corroborate our worth.

Thus, we see ourselves, near divine,
Worthy of an earthly crown;
Yet, if we worship at our shrine,
god will surely let us down.
And painful the epiphany
When a cherished idol falls;
Though Ego tries hard not to see,
The reality appalls.

With respect to those who declare
We’re unhappy from self-doubt,
There’s narcissism in the air—
From it does our sadness sprout.
Depression would not be so broad
If our focus aimed Above—
The rupture between us and God
Arises from self-love.


An Atheist’s Faith

If I had the faith of an atheist,
I’d never succumb to my mortal lust.
I could cast mighty mountains out to sea,
Walk across water as those insects ski,
And break the darkness like a brittle crust.

For to believe chance made all this, one must
Hold a steeled mind, shaped and cured not to rust.
Oh, my stumbling soul would have found the key
If I had the faith of an atheist!

No, our universe seems more than pooled dust:
We see such signs of design. To then trust
Constructive destruction brought it to be
Shows such zeal—such raw devotion—to me.
Oh, from nothing could the wonders consist
If I had the faith of an atheist!


Ron L. Hodges is an English teacher and poet who lives in Orange County, California. His works have appeared in The Road Not Taken, Ancient Paths, Calvary Cross, and The Society of Classical Poets Journal 2015 and 2016. He won the Society’s prestigious Annual Poetry Competition in 2016.

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6 Responses

  1. Amy Foreman

    I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment of both poems, Ron! A proper view of the self would revolutionize this culture–and, on the flip side, it will take a complete turn-around by this culture to bring about a proper view of the self. It can’t happen when everyone’s a winner, when success and prosperity are penalized, and when it’s no longer considered a virtue to make sacrifices. It was prophesied in the Scriptures that, in the last days, men and women would be “lovers of themselves.” And so they are.

  2. David Paul Behrens


    Good people have at their core
    Standards to be held on high
    A religion can be nothing more
    Than a set of rules to live by

    Only the insane are truly atheistic
    Or agnostic and without any rules
    As we all must strive to be realistic
    Those without an rules are fools

    Remove an O from the word GOOD
    Add a D to EVIL and it spells DEVIL
    GOD can then become understood
    And religion becomes on the level

    God and Devil are Right and Wrong
    Philosophical symbols in the mind
    Only good people will ever belong
    To a Universal Church of the Kind

  3. Michael Dashiell

    Both poems are excellent. The poem of self-love reveals the shame of our times. From songs with the theme of the singer’s personal life and interests, to the utter vanity of the Kardashians, to the rampant use of selfies, and social media as a means to showcase ourselves, ego is still much condoned. We need to recognize that the scope of life and the cosmos are far vaster than any of us. I also appreciated the atheist poem, as a man caught between the facts of science, and the love of life and world hopefully non-ending, I sympathize with both world views. I can only hope there’s a God, but find the evidence subjective and shaky. If God does exist, it’s time for him to come out of us closet.


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