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The Opposite of Virtue

by Yahia Lababidi

‘There is never an instant’s truce,’
pronounced thorough Thoreau
‘between virtue and vice’

One might say, a vice is a vise,
never mind, metal or moral,
it’s basically the same device

with cunning moveable jaws
designed to fix us in place
and rob us of a chance at grace

or like a metaphysical cat’s paws
pinning down our spiritual tail
as we chase freedom to no avail

impervious to all advice, habit
hotly whispers false reassurance
while tightening its iron grip.

It takes no effort to slip into vice,
but virtue is trickier to stick to
like the back of a bucking bronco.

© Yahia Lababidi 2023

Yahia Lababidi is the author of Quarantine Notes (aphorisms), Revolutions of the Heart (essays), The Artist as Mystic (conversations), and, most recently, Learning to Pray (poetry & aphorisms) and Desert Songs (poetry & photography).

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