no rehearsal. Failure was possible
but he could not fail—his strength
his weakness, for he knew
the power of unlimited temptation
the luxury of giving in; he met
human kind in its squalor and brutality
exception only to its pride.
And our lives are no rehearsal: unlike
Irishman giving directions we can't say
"I wouldn't start from here"—he
wait for us to become respectable
but finds us, like Zacchaeus, up a gum tree
the woman in her well of promiscuity, places where
we can hardly bear his failure to be shocked.
Paradox once again supplies the core theme of this central group of sonnets (32-36), culminating in the death of God in sonnet 35.
Zacchaeus cf Luke 19.
the woman in her well of promiscuity cf Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4).