I want visceral rewards.
I am tired
Of doing good for its own sake.
I was raised to believe
That virtue is its own reward.
But over the long run
I have not found it so.
The habit of virtue hangs heavy.
Stiff as an overcoat,
But threadbare, comfortless
Against the lonely winter of my days.
I want touch
I want to be stroked.
I cannot, without input,
Keep generating energy.
A kettle cannot whistle
No one expects it to.
Even a boiler needs tending.
And I am not,
I am not an appliance, a thing.
And my life is not without significance.
Nor do I, by and large, regret my ways.
But I cannot stop a billion starving cells
From howling in the caverns of my skin.