Every religion has its fanatics and every religion has its wise voices but they're not as frequently or as loudly heard. It's the Talmud that says "Ambition destroys the heart it lives in", it was Mohammed who said "The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr" and it's my Bulgarian husband who says "Many an ass has entered Jerusalem". This is a little poem of...well a slightly vengeful piece.

No Sex for Priests


The horse in harness suffers.
He’s not feeling up to snuff.

The feeler’s sensate but the cook
pronounces lobsters tough.

The chain’s too short: the dog’s at pains
to reach a sheaf of shade. One half a squirrel’s

whirling there, upon the Interstate. That ruff
around the monkey’s eye is cancer. Only God’s

impervious – he’s deaf and blind. But he’s
not dumb: to answer for it all, his spokesmen

aren’t allowed to come.

first published in The American Scholar Magazine 2006, © Heather McHugh 2006, used by permission of the author. Poetry Foundation recording made on 21 September 2007, New York

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