“I am not as other men,” he says –
Then shudders, for he thinks he hears
The posturing Pharisee
In the shadows close at hand.
A pause; he stops; he stands;
Then chases tails of circling thought,
Smoking firebrands, little foxes;
He ends in ash and stubble.
He returns again to his former place.
“I am not,” he says, “and I will not;”
Then hears their voices close at hand,
“You shall, or shall not be.”
In terror then he runs, he flees
Before the awful Juggernaut,
He bends beneath the woeful yoke
And buttons up the collar.
He stretches muscles that are not,
He paints a pleasant face and strains
To climb; he thinks he stands but falls.
He ends with “I cannot.”