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Prayer

It's the beginning of the third day
And I'm really dying this time,
And like the atheists in foxholes
I'll condescend to pray.

So this is my message
And these are my thoughts,
To give me safe passage
Through celestial ports:

What if God were just a child,
Not baby Jesus, meek and mild,
But five or six and full of tricks,
Good-natured and yet wild?

What if Arctic sunsets,
Niagara and the Gobi
Were primary school productions:
“What's that you've got for mummy?”

Perhaps we're accidental,
An inconceivable mystery,
Alone, inconsequential,
A side-effect of infinity.

Perhaps if death were tangible,
Its breath upon my back
Then I might have my mind be still
And find the faith I lack,

But sleep and death are not the same,
And if coupled sleep apart,
For though they both be animals
Sleep at least is tame.

Yet here's the third day dawning,
And me awake but yawning,
With aching head and new-made bed
Which will not stop their bawling.

So long now, God, my friend, and me,
It may be a delusion,
But I think this deep insomnia
Is reaching its conclusion.

So now I leave to try to rest
And pray again for sleep:
Give me but this one request
And all else you can keep.

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