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December 01st 2007 print

John Whitworth

What It Isn’t

What It Isn’t

Old evidences of decay
Still linger in the mind
And little that you do or say
Seems apposite or kind.
You preach more often than you pray,
You lose more than you find.
It isn’t what you take away.
It’s what you leave behind.

You win so rarely when you play;
The players rob you blind.
You owe what you can never pay;
The cheques remain unsigned.
Your night encroaches on your day;
The exits all are mined.
It isn’t what you take away.
It’s what you leave behind.

All thoughts that you permit to stray
Are sexually inclined,
Indifferently straight or gay,
You chew them to the rind.
There has to be a better way
To deal with humankind.
It isn’t what you take away.
It’s what you leave behind.

Say yea or nay—to go or stay,
To scatter or to bind?
You’re wary of the ricochet
And cut what won’t unwind.
You tighten up the tourniquet
And wait to be assigned.
It isn’t what you take away,
It’s never what you take away,
It’s what you leave behind.

John Whitworth