"Pascal's Wager" -Suzanne Cleary

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"Pascal's Wager" -Suzanne Cleary
2014-01-24 15:25:18
poetry pascal wager cleary

"Pascal's Wager" -Suzanne Cleary
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  1. 1
    • Pascal's Wager is the kind of thing
    • you would discuss with a beer in your hand,
    • but then there was always a beer
  2. 2
    • in one of your hands, or passing from one to
    •     the other,
    • that summer we talked on your porch,
    • those rainy upstate nights, hot pavement  
    •     steaming
  3. 3
    • as it cooled, the steam like fog close over a
    •     river,
    • beginning to lift toward invisibility.
    • I remember the wager like this: if we believe in
    •     God,
  4. 4
    • there is at least a chance we will see Heaven,
    • whereas, if we do not believe, we forfeit our
    •     place
    • in paradise. Pascal wrote there is no harm
  5. 5
    • in believing. If it turns out there is no God,
    • we've lost, he said, nothing, and if we do not
    •     believe,
    • and it turns out we are right, we have gained
    •     nothing,
  6. 6
    • Pascal not the kind of person, evidently,
    • to take satisfaction in having been right,
    • damned but right. I knew you drank. I saw the
    •     bottles.
  7. 7
    • I sat in your kitchen and I saw them, beside the
    •     stove.
    • You set your beer down to take a pot from the
    •     cupboard,
    • to pour rice into boiling water. You set it down
    •     again
  8. 8
    • to briefly admire, then chop, carrots and ginger,
    • to rinse red grapes, place them in a bowl,
    • all the while the two of us talking, a feast of
    •     ideas
  9. 9
    • and easy silence, as the small kitchen filled
    • with the smells of earth and, for all we knew,
    • for all we know, Heaven. When I think of you,
  10. 10
    • years later, it is usually because there is
    •     something
    • I want to tell you, or there is something I
    •     wonder about,
    • and I am alone in my wonder. I have thought
  11. 11
    • memory both Heaven and Hell. I wonder
    • if it is the same for you. Pascal's theology,
    • as I understand it, examines doubt
  12. 12
    • because he believes faith commodious beyond
    •     reason,
    • as is God, who has made earth our home,
    • and lets us mistake it for Heaven.