Immolatus

My mind had read about the Chinese rites,
But it was cold outside.
There was the place where sudden ardour bites,
From which I could not hide.

I lingered just a while, with no one home,
And I desired what I did not know,
And fair and foul were mixed in roaring foam
As tremors thrashed together friend and foe.

His face and manner, and his servant mind,
So far as I could tell, would put to shame
What I then felt; his eyes by conscience bind
The selfish pleasure that I could not name.

So what I love and what I hate and love
Do battle for my soul;
I turned away and asked the power above
To come and burn me whole.

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