In What have I Offended?

It is a time for sifting recollecting

Remembering the account, the cost, of loss of friends

On my fingers’ bare bones

 

Friends whose commands I have obeyed: obeyed sheepishly,

Which is my nature

Some things I do not question, some things; they are not for sale,

 

I follow, I do not lead; I have nowhere I wish to go,

Let others go their ways, I nurse no urge to roam,

Achieve

 

Not to the south nor north, nor to The Outer Hebrides;

Stayed local, I keep my hands upon my shiny-trouser’s knees

There is no better roaming than a book can serve

 

I try to be true, speak truth, as I may chance to see it

I try giving no offence in what I say and do

But if my uncouth truth offends, what may I say of it

 

Alas, it’s skewed?

Which is my fear; that custom’s contumelies have rocked me

Scuppered me overboard too much to often; like a wave

 

Of angry grief, in self-enamour, has swept across my bows

And toppled reason pitching it in lathered seas

In swirls about my faith?

 

Then have I instance, and insistence due regret, to do remorse

Then I must back to Scripture go, amend by due recourse

Learning again, and yet again, not to be so high-horse

 

But lonely, and so by prodigal estimate onset,

Appalling me right now are unknown crimes which sow disorders:

Could I but now disown the concentric trip-lines of the spider,

 

Whose sharp bite infracts incursion-like, and makes its test

Tooth’s venom entering me inters light buoyancies

And mortified I struggling hit the ground

 

A leaden moth, or metal butterfly; plaintiff in song

Dirging on corporal frailties with a remiss inconstancy

Like a poor pauper entertains, to solicit a few pence

 

Sitting obeisantly

On the wide ranging highroads, cross-legged, rags his livery

Hoping against hope his chatter chase his woes away

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