As the Ruin Falls
All this flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through;
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.
Peace, reassurance, pleasure, are the gods I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;
I talk of love - a scholar's parrot may talk Greek -
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.
Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
my heart into a bridge by which I might get back
from exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.
For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
you give me are more precious than all other gains.