The Misplaced Book of Common Prayer (or, ‘The Smell of Chilled Glue’)

O Lord, Hebrew god of the Saxons

Let me resist the falsity of television’s prophets

Let me tear asunder the shroud of cultural senility

And make its rags into ribbons

For to decorate my wings

 

O Lord, Hebrew god of the Saxons

Let me not feel the guilt of inactivity

Let me not funnel that guilt into

Furthering my boss’s personal agenda, nor needless home renovations

Nor a serious confusion of my anonymity with community

 

O Lord, Hebrew god of the Saxons

Let me not believe in triumph

But where necessary, let me know transcendence

 

O Lord, Hebrew god of the Saxons

Let this latest substantial purchase

Be enough to content me. . .  at least for a small while

In this I earnestly pray

 

O Lord, Hebrew god of the Saxons

Let me not pine for greater recognition

From people I do not know

In aborted stabs at rock & roll heroism

But let me see the reality and

Let me stop embarrassing my wife and children

Amen

 

O Lord, Hebrew god of the Saxons

Let not the cold light of bottle shop fridges

The smell of chilled cardboard and glue

Lead me unto the evangelistic truths, the savage peace

Of my inaugural AA meeting

 

O Lord, Hebrew god of the Saxons

If I am to have a stroke

Then let it kill me outright

Like a murdering blast of electric chair

Gone, not present

Leaving not even a hum

 

O Lord, Hebrew god of the Saxons

Let me learn from the books of anthropology

The ways of the warm-blooded primate

And not forget these lessons in the field

 

O Lord, Hebrew god of the Saxons

Let me know the glory

In every tin roof and blackbird

In every soaring blossom of the Spring

 

Will Swan

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