I rise like a red balloon, untethered and vacant.
The essence of my dolor has become rarefied,
Holy; like a fragrance, bodiless, without referent.
It is pale shadow on the sun, a wasp’s-wing, accidental
Splash of poison on the white rose’s thorn—
I twist it in my fingers and faint. Shall I tell you?
There was one bad fairy at my birth, there came one curse,
One blister, one drop of mercury in the moult of me
And everything was ruined after.
Still it is
No good; the words drift from me like ashes.
I am so old now, I have left half my life
In caves hollowed out in rock by the seashore:
I prayed in each one, and could not find my way back,
Or lied when the pass-word was asked, or turned my back,
Making gestures of despondency at the roiling surf.
In a mirror I shot all my hateful selves, the yesterdays.