Here’s a Stephen Crane poem in its entirety, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation:
A Man Said to the Universe
A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
Three things strike me, fifty years after I first read, and was enamored with, this poem. Third, the Universe is conversing with the man as if the man were NOT part of Herself. Perhaps the man feels lonely and he has codified his loneliness, and sense of rejection, into this imagined conversation.
Second, She has a voice. How does She speak? Does She implant thoughts in the man’s head, does She make air vibrate, or did She employ corporeal form à la Dr. Strange’s odd compadre Eternity, who resides in the universe of Marvel Comics? Or is the man imagining it all?
But first and foremost, the man addresses the Universe as “Sir.” I think he is wrong to do so. The Universe is forever gestating, creating phenomena without end. And all of Her creations are still in Her womb, for She IS the womb.
So, playfully-or-not, I reboot Crane’s notion, thus:
Gary Said to the Universe
Gary said to the Universe,
“Ma’am, I exist!”
Here is some proof:
I finished that just this morning. And here are some vessels, Ma’am, made from your very own clay:
Ma’am, I just want to say I’m grateful to be here.
And ask you: Did God make you?”
“Yes, we are,” replied the Universe.
“As to your question,
We can but reply
‘Here we are.'”
“I don’t understand,” I answered.
“You cannot understand,” She replied.
End of reboot, except to say
I’m neither believer nor atheist,
And this is Exhibit A.