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Renunciation
MR (1953 / Lisgoold, County Cork)

Renunciation

after the Irish of Séathrún Céitinn

Dear one, with your wiles,
You’d best remove your hand,
Though burning with love’s fire,
I’m no more an active man.

Look at the grey on my head,
See how my body droops,
Think of my sluggish blood –
What would you have me do?

It’s not desire I lack.
Don’t bend low like that again!
But love without the act
Must live, slender minx.

Withdraw your lips from mine,
Strong as the inclination is,
Don’t brush against my skin,
That could lead to wantonness.

The intricacy of curls,
Soft eyes clear as dew,
The pale sight of your curves,
Give pleasure to me now.

Bar what the body craves,
And lying with you requires,
I’ll do for our love’s sake,
Dear one, with your wiles.

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