The Rule

by Richard Wilbur

The oil for extreme unction must be blessed
On Maundy Thursday, so the rule has ruled,
And by the bishop of the diocese.
Does that revolt you? If so, you are free
To squat beneath the deadly manchineel,
That tree of caustic drops and fierce aspersion,
And fancy that you have escaped from mercy.
Things must be done in one way or another.

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