Aug 292011
 

If a thief gave you his friendship, would you
     take of it and feel it?
Would you sit inside his patterned house
     among strangers' memorabilia
And watch his tongue when he remarks
     on the lamp from Aunt Cecilia?

The truth has always suffered,
     and the thief has always lied.
By law or thief or money
     the truth is never paid.

Raphael's Madonna, blithe upon the wall
     officiates at snooker;
Surely those eyes, so sad, so full, so wise
     they'd spot emergent Christ
Among all the convergent lice, surely they
     forgive the hand that took her.

The priceless art and conversation
     conspire to do you good;
You thrill that every turn of social talk
     might have a twisted end.
He recalls your foibles lightly;
     lightly, he's your friend.

So take the offset printed coaster
     that is offered obliquely;
Let the politely proffered crumbcake
     sit center on the doilies--
And in his tepid eyes behind his tea
     see if you are his.

The truth has always suffered,
     and the thief has always lied.
By law or thief or money
     the truth is never paid.

By valentine's the command comes down
     to pen two loving stanzas;
You lean and stare and calmly crib them
     on a millionaire's cadenza:
"Love is that which gives and gives
     and finds in taking, splendour."
 

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