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The God of this World
to his Prophet


Go to the prosperous city,

for I have taken pity


on its inhabitants,

who drink and feast and dance


all night in lighted halls

yet know their bacchanals


lead nowhere in the end.

Go to them, now, commend,


to those with ears to hear,

a lifestyle more austere.


Tell all my children tired

of happiness desired


and never had that there

is solace in despair.


Say there is consolation

in ruins and ruination


beneath a harvest moon

that is itself a ruin,


comfort, however cold,

in grievances recalled


beside a fire dying

from lack of love and trying.


Bill Coyle



2002; originally printed in The Hudson
.  Reprinted by permission of the

by Jelane

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