This was featured in The Writer's Almanac this morning (thanks, Annie, for introducing the Almanac to me!), and I was interested in this poem by Updike. I guess I haven't read enough of his work to know whether the theme is typical. Meanwhile (and wholly unrelated to Updike) Jimmer the Fish is still alive.
by John Updike
One size fits all. The shape or coloration
of the god or high heaven matters less
than that there is one, somehow, somewhere, hearing
the hasty prayer and chalking up the mite
the widow brings to the temple, A child
alone with horrid verities cries out
for there to be a limit, a warm wall
whose stones give back an answer, however faint.
Strange, the extravagance of it—who needs
those eighteen-armed black Kalis, those musty saints
whose bones and bleeding wounds appall good taste,
those joss sticks, houris, gilded Buddhas, books
Moroni etched in tedious detail?
We do; we need more worlds. This one will fail.
"Religious Consolation" by John Updike, from Americana and Other Poems. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.