ai] iron [ɪ] in [ʌ/ ʊ] rung [ɒ] cross [i:] greased [əʊ] mould [e/ eə:] set

[ɑ:] bar [ei] weight [ɜː] world [ʊə/ u] root [au] pound

[æ] stamped [ɔː] wall [u:] root

Weighing In


The 56 lb. weight. A solid iron

Unit of negation. Stamped and cast

With an inset, rung-thick, moulded, short crossbar


For a handle. Squared-off and harmless-looking
Un
til you tried to lift it, then a socket-ripping,
Life-belittling force -


Gravity's black box, the immovable

Stamp and squat and square-root of dead weight.

Yet balance it


Against another one placed on a weighbridge -

On a well-adjusted, freshly greased weighbridge -
And
everything trembled, flowed with give and take.


*

And this is all the good tidings amount to:

This principle of bearing, bearing up
And
bearing out, just having to


Balance the intolerable in others

Against our own, having to abide
What
ever we settled for and settled into


Against our better judgement. Passive
Suffering makes the world go round.
Peace on earth, men of good will, all that


Holds good only as long as the balance holds,
The
scales ride steady and the angels' strain
Pro
longs itself at an unearthly pitch.

To refuse the other cheek. To cast the stone.
Not to do so some time, not to break with
The
obedient one you hurt yourself into

Is to fail the hurt, the self, the ingrown rule.
Prophesy who struck thee! When soldiers mocked
Blindfolded Jesus and he didn't strike back

They were neither shamed nor edified, although
Some
thing was made manifest - the power

Of power not exercised, of hope inferred


By the powerless forever. Still, for Jesus' sake,
Do me a favour, would you, just this once?
Prophe
sy, give scandal, cast the stone.

*

Two sides to every question, yes, yes, yes
But
every now and then, just weighing in

Is what it must come down to, and without


Any self-exculpation or self-pity.

Alas, one night when follow-through was called for
And a
quick hit would have fairly rankled,


You countered that it was my narrowness
That
kept me keen, so got a first submission.
I
held back when I should have drawn blood

And that way (mea culpa) lost an edge.
A
deep mistaken chivalry, old friend.

At this stage only foul play cleans the slate.