High Tide, Slack Water

O what is there to save us from excess?
In dear reform we glaze a common fault:
inculcation, blackmail, lack of success.

A glass-eyed soldier whistles no or yes.
(Each gifted fool is honoured in default.)
O what is there to save us from excess?

What code of beauty flickers in this mess?
A leaden charm that winks at self-assault:
inculcation, blackmail, lack of success.

This sinners’ world is not for gentleness.
We find a patterned stillness to exalt.
O what is there to save us from excess?

A satirist’s craze for truth is meaningless.
The cry of rhetoric turns a somersault:
inculcation, blackmail, lack of success.

Though life goes on its danger is not less.
My wastrel breath pipes thinly to a halt.
O what is there to save us from excess?
Inculcation, blackmail, lack of success.

An almost impossibly cramped effort that nevertheless said all I wanted to say at a kind of nadir of inexperience. Life was fairly quickly to become more direct and real.
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