My friend insists he wants me to be saved.
He argues that my soul will come to grief
unless it’s rescued from my unbelief
by Jesus”though I’m fairly well behaved,

and not, as sinners go, a perfect ten.
My friend’s a poet”hunter too”at both
pursuits relentless in the chase, and loath
to forfeit any prey: the souls of men,

phrases that say what he would have them sing,
four ducks downed with one shell (for he shoots true!)”
must be retrieved, by Feeney from the slough,
or from Hell’s brink by prayer. He wants each thing

saved, and he labors daily to that end
with gun and dog, syntax, and beads to tell,
till, like a poem, all is finished well
and safely bagged to please his holy friend.

I’ve never touched a soul or aimed a gun,
and as for gods, although I know by name
several dozen, I’ve enjoyed the same
benign neglect, so far, from every one.

If I need saving”and it well may be,
though I don’t know from what or by what means”
let it be here among familiar scenes,
by friends who choose to kneel and pray for me.