God alter me, and turn my heart to stone,
That I may be as cold as mountain snow.
And cleave my way untempted and alone.
And have no fire, nor any seeds to sow.
Nor feel the blood within me hotly flow.
And never cry, nor have the least regret,
Nor anything to treasure or forget.
And have no song to offer to the sun.
No secrets for the moon, no pulse to race;
And have no friend, nor any need for one.
No yearning for the sight of any face.
No sudden hate, no preference of place.
No hope to lose, no trespass to atone . . ,
God alter me and turn my heart to stone.
Or make me wholly beast, a questing fire,
A thing of instincts unencumbered by
The need of shame to temper slaked desire.
The power to love, the fearfulness to die;
A cruel thing that wants and knows not why.
And satisfies its want, and wants again.
Untouched by truth, insensible to pain.
One or the other: anything but this,
To sight the goal ahead and never make it;
To taste the murder lurking in a kiss,
And thirst for wine and swallow gall to slake it;
Desire the moon and be too faint to take it;
To have the precious things and never know
How beautiful they were until they go.
To move about in secret, wrapped in lies;
To do a heartless thing and blush for shame,
And never look your best friend in the eyes
And tell the truth; but learn to play the game.
And hate its dull conventions all the same.
And live in need, and perish quite alone . . .
Oh God ! Make me a beast then, or a stone.
J.R. Ackerley – England – (1896 – 1967)
Davidson, E (Editor) (1920) ‘Cambridge Poets, 1914—1920 – An Anthology‘ W. Heffer & Sons Ltd: London. (Page 5)
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