One Last

Alexander Nussbaum

Bitterly cold was the night and a torrential rain did pour.
All I wanted was sleep, but there came a blasted knock on my door.

Under my breath I said a curse, to get out of bed I was loath.
But I had taken the Hippocratic oath, I hastened lest the patient grow worse.

I was drenched to the skin by the time of my arrival.
It was clear the patient had no chance for survival.

In a home for the aged, a decrepit old man near lifelessness laid in a bed.
Just wrinkles and bones, any second he would fade, and no one cared whether or not he was dead.

My bones ached, I started to leave, but he feebly motioned me to come near.
He still had a last victory to achieve, his words were soft, but they were clear.

My death near, it is expected I now repent, lest to the fiery depths of Hell I am sent.
But because my existence shall soon reach conclusion, am I to fall victim to absurd illusion?

I lived my life, of its pleasures I had taste.
On delusion, not a second did I waste.

They tell you that in God you must trust, but hear me, the meaning of life is lust.

This is the only world, there is nothing beyond man, true virtue is desire.
Invent, create, accomplish while you can and avoid what the collectivists require.

Those who seek power the world fill, into you they try to instill, notions of religion, tradition, and conformity.
But enjoy each hour, experience every thrill, the supreme authority is your own will and most of all be free.

That was all he ever was to say, with those words he passed away.
But my life was given meaning by the greatness I saw that day.


Alexander Nussbaum teaches in the Department of Psychology at St. John’s University. He has previously written articles for Free Inquiry; his most recent, “In Praise of Statistics,” appeared in the December 2014/January 2015 issue.

Alexander Nussbaum

Alexander Nussbaum teaches in the Department of Psychology at St. John’s University. He has previously written articles for Free Inquiry, his most recent, “In Praise of Statistics,” appeared in the December 2014/January 2015 issue.


A poem from the August/September 2015 issue of Free Inquiry.

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