Romans. VII.23

John Lancaster

I was back pew sniggering at Walter Dishley’s sermon text –
another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind.
And in my pants a law unto itself was taking shape seeded
by Linda Nixon’s cross-legged stocking tops. Aroused,
the black suit crowed and waved the bible at ‘you back there,
laughing sinner scared to know this book. God will not forget
your sin. Repent or go in shame.’ And at the turned faces, I fled
the bollockwash as if I had entered a temple where I had no right

to be, to make a mazy run of lefts and rights to Pleasureland,
swilling gallons of lousy beer, gorging on pies and chips,
food-mixing the brain on the Mad Mouse ride, gawping
at coloured light bulbs, turned on by flashing fruit machines
and high-heeled girls in Blackpool bars as jukeboxed Peggy Lee
asked Is That All There Is? And youth said yes, for now.