Lucy Vickery

Let us pray

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In Competition No. 3025 you were invited to submit a Lord’s Prayer for the 21st century.

One of my favourites, among the many parodies of the Lord’s Prayer already out there, is Ian Dury’s ‘Bus Driver’s Prayer’: ‘Our father,/ who art in Hendon/ Harrow Road be Thy name./ Thy Kingston come; thy Wimbledon…’.

The challenge drew a smallish but pleasingly varied entry. Bill Greenwell’s ‘The Refugees’ Prayer’ started strongly — ‘Half-hearted, we chant/ in haven, harrowed by the numb;/ deny kin can come,/ deny well, be dumb…’ — but then puzzled in parts. A.H. Harker, Alan Millard, Paul Carpenter, David Silverman and Meg Muldowney were also strong contenders.

The winners, printed below, are awarded £25 each.

Our Dawkins, who art in Oxford,

Followed be thy meme.

Let religious apologists come,

You’ll tear them a new one

In Fort Worth, Mombasa or in Devon.

Give us this day our daily facts

And forgive those who criticise our best guesses,

As if an as yet incomplete explanation of the laws governing the physical universe somehow represents a damning indictment of the scientific method.

Lead us not into superstition,

But deliver us from concepts that are medieval,

For we are all of the animal kingdom,

With the power of reason, and glory in nature

Until the inevitable and complete

extinguishment of our consciousnesses at

the moment of death, an event which

reason dictates, ipso facto, to be

unsurvivable in any meaningful sense,


Rob Stuart

Our Faithbase, which is in the Cloud,

Genderless be your name.

May your dominion extend,

Your influence magnify

In reality as it does online.

Give us each day our social media

And preserve us from inappropriate behaviour

As we avoid that which may be offensive to others.

Let us not forget our passwords,

Or overborrow on our credit facilities,

For yours are the algorithms,

The power and the profit

As long as a signal lasts.


Alanna Blake

To whom it may concern

(Allegedly residing in the conceptual space known as ‘Heaven’):

You seem to think the name of ‘God’ is hallowed

But we consider all the names given to deities by

various cultural traditions equally valid.

Please note that we reject talk of kingdoms and wills

As being insufferably patriarchal.

Plus: we require you to note that many of us have complex dietary requirements;

Any bread, daily or otherwise, should be gluten free.

Important: We reserve the right to take offence,

And will therefore speak offensively about those who offend us.

Lead us not into unsafe spaces,

And protect us from opinions we disagree with.

For goodness sake take note of what Foucauldian analysis

Has to say about discourse validating

Kingdoms, power, glory and so forth.

And don’t you dare suggest that the genders you originally supplied us are ones that we should be satisfied with for ever and ever.


George Simmers

My phone, which is at hand,

Apple is your name.

Your emails come, your texts are done

at home, and anywhere, really.

Give me today my constant fix

and forgive my missed Likes

as I try to forgive those who do not Follow me.

And lead me not into too much browsing

but deliver me from RSI.

For you hold all contacts, my status, have aura,

as long as I ever keep you charged.

Ah, phone.

D.A. Prince

To whom it may concern:

Forget the Jesus stuff.

In fact, completely spurn

All supernatural guff.

Let’s make ourselves a deal.

We’ll scratch each other’s backs.

I’ll listen to your spiel.

You help me cheat my tax.

‘Cash nexus’ are the words

That make the world go round.

Compassion’s for the birds

And Earth’s a battleground.

Godfather of the greedy,

Let me survive this war.

Protect me from the needy.

Arm me against the poor.

Basil Ransome-Davies

r #thykingdom. Hallow@thyname.

U wil b dun@eart as #hvn. Giv us fud & 4giv us r rongs lyk we 4giv al snrs #badsins @badudes. No mor +tempts r +evil @deliverus ok? Ur cool. Thine @kingdom @power @glory @evrythin. 4Evr&Evr #amen #topgod #evrule. Respect.

John O’Byrne

No. 3028: seasons greetings

‘Lines For A Christmas Card’ by Hilaire Belloc goes like this: ‘May all my enemies go to hell,/ Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel.’ Let’s have ‘Lines For A Christmas Card’ courtesy of other well-known poets (please specify). Please email (wherever possible) entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 30 November. Apologies for the earlier-than-usual deadline. This is because of Christmas production schedules.