Joan Butler : Giving Up

I long for Lent each year.  Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not on some arcane religious streak,
it’s not my scene. Thus, when I say I long,
this indicates a self-denial freak
impatient at the mere anticipation
of abnegation.

You love a thing far more when you’re denied it,
and if that hurts like hell, so much the better.
I’m telling you, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
The rule, which must be followed to the letter:
taste every pleasure, drain each tempting cup
then give it up.

And yet . . . this giving-up is wearing thin,
austerity demands too small a price.
I seek a more enticing sort of sin
that begs a more ascetic sacrifice:
next year it is my one avowed intent
to give up Lent.