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They which do hunger and thirst | by Giles Watson's poetry and prose
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They which do hunger and thirst

They which do hunger and thirst


I could really get my teeth into righteousness,

as into a hunk of freshly risen bread - could drink

deeply of its lifeblood - were it not for that old

weevil, self, spoiling the whole repast. Watch

closely how it channers through those yeasty holes

in the still-warm body of the loaf, half-blindly

awaiting its own metamorphosis into a black beetle.

No doubt it leaves a trail of bran-coloured dung

on which I could choke. No, I am not righteous -

nor would I have it conferred on me by grace, faith

or any other substitute for a wholesome meal.

The grub will find the centre, and drown in blood.


Love, lust, covetousness, desire: do your worst.

At least I'll live: I'll hunger and I'll thirst.


Poem by Giles Watson, 2013. The picture shows a detail of a memorial brass in Northleach church, Gloucestershire, depicting Thomas Adynet, early 15th century.

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Taken on April 21, 2013