Think Carefully

written by © Peter Howard
Runner up in the Ripley Poetry Competition 1995, also in collection Game Theory

A god is for life - not just for Christmas,
so before you take one into your home
remember, when the novelty's worn off,
you will still have to give it offerings,
make sacrifices, clean up after it.
Gods, if provoked are prone to violence.
(Remember the Flood, and the mopping up
that involved for the price of a rainbow.)

Breeding gods requires especial care:
they are extraordinarily jealous,
and may eat their offspring, or mutilate
their parents, siblings, or even themselves.
It is almost impossible to stop
certain species breeding. If your daughter
develops a crush on a bull, or a swan,
you should treat the matter seriously.

For those who know what they are undertaking,
and are prepared for the occasional
plague of boils or death of their eldest son
(and the very real distress this can cause),
or the appearance of swarms of creatures,
we may not all care for in the living room,
then adopting a god can be the start
of a joyous, fulfilling experience.

But do resist the temptation to give
a god as a present. They are seldom
really welcome. Also, beware of gods
imported by unscrupulous dealers
from third world countries. Too many gods are
roaming our streets; don't add to their number.

This message was brought to you by Divine
Intervention, a charity that aims
to protect the interests of all gods
everywhere (and those not omni-present.)
Our lines are open if you wish to make
a donation. Thank you for listening.