Forbidden Pleasure

Quick! The black, sulphurous, never quenched,
Old festering fire begins to play
Once more within. Look! By brute force I have wrenched
Unmercifully my hands the other way.

Quick, Lord! On the rack thus, stretched tight,
Nerves clamouring as at nature's wrong.
Scorched to the quick, whipp'd raw—Lord, in this plight
You see, you see no man can suffer long.

Quick, Lord! Before new scorpions bring
New venom—ere fiends blow the fire
A second time—quick, show me that sweet thing
Which, 'spite of all, more deeply I desire.

C.S. Lewis
Poems (Bles) 1964

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