The wedding invitation I refuse;
I cannot match your hunger for delight.
In black robes instead of white I recuse
myself; I do not have the appetite.
Only a perfect one could be your muse;
I wear more sensible shoes.


Why do you keep me, pampered as a house-cat basking
in a blade of sun and just as fickle—out and in?
You answer me in spite of pinched and hollow asking;
hear me through prayers as treacherous and thin
as the limbs of sapling trees.
I bend in the breeze.


I flirt and fawn and name that half-thing “love.”
You offer all—would make me always glad—
and still, I resist you, but not like Jacob.
I am a limp-wristed wrestler, a wife who will not be had.
There is, in me, no noble fight;
I sleep away the night.


Such chastity shames the faithless prude
and I grow fat, ugly, tired, and bored.
Yet you never stop pursuing your pursued.
Life-giving, taking, life-filling Lord,
you—despite the excuses I employ—
will command, and yes complete, my joy.

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel by Alexander Louis Leloir, 1865