Prayer

Prayer

God give me strength to lead a double life.
Cut me in half.
Make each half happy in its own way
with what is left. Let me disobey
my own best instincts
and do what I want to do, whatever that may be,
without regretting it, or thinking I might.

When I come home late at night from home,
saying I have to go away,
remind me to look out the window
to see which house I'm in.
Pin a smile on my face
when I turn up two weeks later with a tan
and presents for everyone.

Teach me how to stand and where to look
when I say the words
about where I have been
and what sort of time I've had.
Was it good or bad or somewheree in between?
I'd like to know how I feel about these things,
perhaps you'd let me know?

When it's time to go to bed in one of my lives,
go ahead of me up the stairs,
shine a light in the corners of my room.
Tell me this: do I wear pyjamas here,
or sleep with nothing on?
If you can't oblige by cutting me in half,
God give me strength to lead a double life.


from Collected Poems (Faber & Faber, 2005), copyright © Hugo Williams 2005, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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1The Butcher

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2Sugar Daddy

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3Sonny Jim

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4February the 20th St

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5Empires

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6Holidays

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7Prayer While Sleeping

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8Tides

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9Bachelors

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10Broken Dreams

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11Stagefright

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12At Least a Hundred Words

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13A Walking Gentleman

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14Waiting To Go On

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15Tipping My Chair

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16Tangerines

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17Walking Out of the Room Backwards

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18A Life of Crime

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19Making Friends with Ties

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20The Spring of Sheep

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21A Start in Life

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22Death of an Actor

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23Now that I hear trains

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24When I grow up

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25Desk Duty

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26Couples in Love

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27Toilet

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28Desire

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29Everyone Knows This (1)

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30Bath Night

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31Post-War British

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32On our marks

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33A Dam

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34Last Goodbyes

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35The Age of Steam

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36Joy

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37Lights Out

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38I'm Your Father, Remember?

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39Dinner with my Mother

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40Holiday Poem

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41Saturday Morning

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42Prayer

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43Faith

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44Poetry

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45Message Not Left on an Answerphone

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46In the Blindfold Hours

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47Keats

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48Mirth

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49Everyone Knows This (2)

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50Last Poem

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51Nothing On

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52Rhetorical Questions

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53The Lisboa

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54Among the Combs

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55Rainy Night

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56Nothing Stinted

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57Congratulations

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58Sweet Nothings

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59Haircut

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60Mirror History

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61Bar Italia

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62Siren Song

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63Her News

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64Balcony Scene

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