I burn for all good heresy
in this ungodly town.
If I had any hope to raise
I’d tear cathedrals down.

I’d show the bishop priestly crimes
except that he is blind.
I’d damn the Protestants to hell
if only they would mind.

George Fox rebuked our dainty tread
by kicking off his shoes,
while Cromwell called for giant steps
in tracks of antique Jews.

But we now lack the grace to sin
and boldly be forgiven:
all our neatfoot vice ensouled,
our bootless sinners shriven.

If I were fast enough afoot,
I’d let the meter run”
trumpet truth from yellow cabs,
cry witness to the sun.

But here I sit, before the fire,
with tepid wrath at heart.
I burn light verse to warm my feet
and sin my little part.

Articles by Joseph Bottum

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