My doctor recently prescribed some pills,
whose good effect is chemical in nature:
swallowed, they would relieve me of my ills,
and shake the house of my religious stature.
For prayer will not alleviate a tooth-ache
as can paracetamol, the whole gamut
of ailments prescribed for, save perhaps heart-ache,
but then, if it’s angina, perhaps not.
Going from strength to strength research has proved
the chemical basis to our well-being;
and it’s true, scourges of the past removed,
like smallpox and syphilis, extends living.
These days spiritual healing is for cranks,
a remnant of the past, for everything
we owe to medicine, through all the ranks
of mankind, to alleviate its suffering.
Yet faith is still alive, beyond the scope
of medicine, and this is why: a pill
swallowed is a means of healing, but hope
in the human breast for life springs eternal.