The Physical Conscience

1The moral conscience -- court of last appeal --
2   Our word of God -- our Heaven-sent light and guide --
3   From what high aims it lures our steps aside!
4To what immoral deeds it sets its seal!
5That beacon lamp has lost its sacred fire;
6   That pilot-guide, compelling wind and wave,
7   By slow, blind process, has become the slave
8Of all-compelling custom and desire.
9Not so the conscience of the body. This,
10   Untamed and true, still speaks in voice and face,
11In cold lips stiffened to the loveless kiss,
12   In shamed limbs shrinking from unloved embrace,
13In love-born passion, that no laws compel,
14Nor gold can purchase, nor ambition sell.
Publication Notes: 
Unspoken Thoughts (New South Wales: English Department, University College, 1988): 95-103.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire