The Heart Asks Pleasure First

Set to the tune of Michael Nyman’s The Heart Asks Pleasure First.

The heart asks pleasure first,
Just to quench a dry tongue’s thirst;
For what’s this shell of shadowed dust
That it can’t be a little flushed?
First, but a small taste is its will,
Till one taste past, demands its fill;
Feeling with passion, not with sense,
Giving no care to consequence.
‘Let me eat, drink and make merry’
The heart pleads in pleading steady,
For more a taste it now requires
To quench its now consuming fires;
For what’s this shell of shadowed dust
That it can’t have a little lust?
A little, lightly, everywhere,
Why not? You’ll never know it’s there.
You ask: is this what it seems to be;
That it demands some more of me?
But the heart pleads, ‘Enjoy its stay,
And take a stand some other day.’
So each day slips by into years
And lust becomes your eyes and ears
For what’s this shell of shadowed dust
That it can’t have some pleasure first?
And lust, who stands in streets and cries
‘Give, give’ yet never satisfies;
Who trades in souls as its measure
For dealing back with short-lived pleasure;
Lust, to whom you’ve sold out whole,
Is now the governor of your soul.
So tell me now, what is this shell,
That it should rule the heart so well;
For sure, the heart asks pleasure first,
But after calls it more the worst.

11th January, 2003

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