THE PRAYER OF THE OUTSIDE SHEEP
Lord, let me have the courage to ask Thee for the things I want.
Deliver me from the clamping fear that makes men continually pray
for things they only think they ought to want.
Let every pagan lust for light and heat rise from my soul to
I want more money, more beauty, more brains, more personal
dynamic, more spiritual vigor. From the whole ocean of my soul-
and-body this craving for power goes up like an exhalation.
I want women to smile on me and give evidence that they are
drawn to me.
I want men to be glad because of me, their faces to light up
when I appear. I want to be noticed, deferred to, praised.
I want good luck, that the falling tree misses me, the stray shot
passes me by, the accident leaves me unscarred.
I want pleasant surprises, and no disappointments; health, and
no sickness; pleasures, and no pain.
I want my soul and my body to be friendly, one with the other,
and that these alternating fevers and chills of conscience cease. I
want poise and no more inner moral war.
I want some sort of philosophy of life that is adjusted to the
facts of life.
I want to believe things that are so, and not to be forever
screwing myself up into faith.
I want to live up to all my opportunities of personal expression.
I want the right to my own life. I want the pleasure of giving forth
my own opinions, and of following my own tastes.
Deliver from this world and all its conventional dominancies.
Let me be obscure enough to wear the clothes I please, talk as
I please, and kiss the woman I please.
Save me from the galling chains of prominence.
Save me from the mud of success.
Save me from any reputation I may have to live up to.
Give me this day an honest doubt, a vigorous, distinctive doubt,
to cure the flabbiness of my faith; a procreative, genetic doubt.
Give me this day some intoxication, not of drug or drink, but
some sight or sound or upsurging idea that shall make me a little
Sharpen my instincts, sharpen my passions, sharpen my will,
sharpen my reason; deliver me from bluntness and rust.