The Lot

by Noah Perrin  
A little bit of sickness is 
the cure for every malady.
A lick of flame seals up 
the oozing wound. 
The juice of venom
antidotes its agony.
A dose of death retards 
the cancer’s bloom. 
Teeming banks sprout shoots
through moldering
and pearls are clamped in grime
that wears them smooth. 
Biting frost kills off 
the fervid buzzing, 
the hot disease
of summer’s swollen womb.
A little touch of madness 
seasons reason’s sense,
and a pinch of sin 
flavors temperance.
A sip of sorrow makes
our gladness not too sweet.
A bit of bleeding 
furnishes the meat. 
But since it is so difficult
to learn the right degree,
we swallow more than we can bear
and digest misery
until the heart has quite forgot
which agonies it chose,
and which of them are just the lot
that heaven has bestowed.