Holier, or: Fragile

Your little face
Might just be proof for me of God's good grace
You utterly bewitch me
Your fancies so enrich me
I want to be

Your Abba'chka...
How can I assure you
That there's a God 
Though I s'pose you do not need it
You naturally believe it...
Holier than me

My Dear Baby
I so fear when you'll learn about "maybe"
The hurts you'll know as onwards grow
For much of life is simply show

My Dear Baby
I don't wanna say 
He ain't there for me

Every day
I watch you read and sing and learn and play
Your birth gave me such purpose
Of this I'm fully certain
That I've so changed

My love for you
It flows red hot and it is bursting through...
Wish I could protect you from painful disappointment
When He misses His appointment
But still I'll be

Your Abba'chka...
How can I assure you
That there is a God
Though I s'pose you do not need it
You naturally believe it...
Holier than me

Your childish purity
I cannot see Whom your eyes see
But whenever you need me
That's where I'll be


For today’s OLN, I’d like to share a poem that I wrote in August ’20, several months after I created this blog. As somebody who does not believe in a sentient, interventionalist god, it’s challenging for me not to poke holes in my first grade daughter’s youthful beliefs; but I always do my best to support her and her ideas. This poem reflects that inner tension.

Also, if you’re curious about such things, ‘Abba’chka’ is what she calls me. ‘Abba’ is ‘Daddy’ in Hebrew, and the suffix ‘chka’ is from Russian – it is a diminutive form. I made the name up for myself, and that’s what my daughter has always called me.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

85 thoughts on “Holier, or: Fragile”

  1. Beautiful poem, full of a parentโ€™s love. I love the way you see the topic of faith and doubt here with your daughter. I was raised in a home where atheism was pushed, and belief in God was mocked. I wish I had the space to openly explore my own spiritual path sooner.

    1. โค Flow โค – my parents didn't encourage or discourage belief one way or another, but they didn't at all encourage me to explore it either… it was sort of treated as not important.


  2. ๐ŸŒปYou naturally believe it… Holier than me๐ŸŒป

    Absolutely, they are born with heaven speaking through their eyes
    The angels dance there

  3. This is so beautiful, David. Your kind of circular narrative is so powerful. And I feel your yearning for your daughter’s life to be perfect and innocent and for love to be everywhere at all times. I feel it too, although not in relation to God. Sometimes I feel guilty for choosing to have kids because … well life is tough and how am I to protect and beautify it for them? Parenthood is sure full of strong emotions.

  4. A really lovely poem David. I love how you see God in the eyes or your daughter! I love how her childlike faith has no trouble believing, yet we adults struggle over the details. God is Love and you get to experience it every day! How wonderful!

  5. A genuine pouring of parental love, the most powerful of all and it will weather any difference of beliefs. Such a beautiful poem, David.

  6. What a beautiful, poignant piece… There is no mistaking the love you have for your little girl. I think she’s in good hands with an Abba’chka who so obviously cares. You’re both very fortunate to have one another. ๐Ÿ™‚

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