Poem | The Problem of Evil

Detail of Saint Michael trampling evil (Photo: jlwelsh)

 

The Problem of Evil’s doing well these days:
Five international meetings in one year!
I’ll skip that one in India next Spring,

Calcutta’s too depressing: I threw up
For two whole weeks last time, and legless kids
Kept hanging right outside our hotel door.

Smart people here in Rome; I loved those grads
Who formalized transworld depravity,
And that young Finn was maximally cute

The way she sat up by the bar, legs crossed,
Surrounded by restricted standard guys,
One with a knockdown argument, he thought,

To get her into bed. Helsinki—yes,
I think I’ll stretch to that and stay awhile.
Last time they had a blowout banquet there,

The Roast Fawn Breast was tops. “It’s just tofu,”
Anne reassured us all. “I’m not quite clear
What Chinese poets have to do with it,”

Quipped George, then smiled around portcullis teeth.
Weird guys, those Brits; and, Lord, their dentistry!
Non-optimal! And that odd smell they have,

But then I’ve seen an Oxbridge college bath
And talk of horrors that you can’t defeat!
Well, here’s my flight at last. Thanks Templeton,

And thanks Great Problem that We Cannot Solve!
Just think: Helsinki’s not too long a wait
And I’ve a brand new line I want to try.

Published in the May 4, 2018 issue: 
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Kevin Hart is the Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Christian Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He is the author of many books, including Barefoot, a new collection of poems published by University of Notre Dame Press.

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