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On Celestial Etiquette

Oh Great Spirit,

maybe you have, indeed, designed

the drought,

the flood,


the flower,

and death

as a lesson in celestial etiquette.

We cannot sacrifice—

and get results.

We cannot beg—

and get results.

We cannot even love—

and get results beyond

the self-satisfied love of loving.

We cannot—even—defy

and get results

beyond, of course, your disciplined indifference.

Best then, and only,

to go as if an animal

—small and strong—

selfish until the self intrudes

to trouble others with itself,

loving until, in love, the compromise

makes us food of others.

It’s a balance, then, you ask,

self with others, part with prudence,

or, if asking is not exactly what you do,

it’s what, through circumstance, you suggest.

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