Long, long enough have I endured the throes And torments of the lust that courses through me Whene’er I think on her – Victor, be strong; She is not real, nor ever can be – faugh! I see her now! – O, how I hunger for her! My mouth fills up with spittle – No! away! Get out of me, you fiend! – But there she is; And if I might but touch her once – Be gone! I am resolved to rid myself of you. You are an idle fancy, nothing more; Some vain imagination, fashioned from The milkweed-tufts of feelings and desires, Which grow and ripen in their bony pod Till a breath blows them, and they issue out In rustling whispers. Yes! A good conceit; Well done! Yes, that should do it. But how then Did she so long endure? Did stronger stuff Aid in her manufacture? – What’s this now? “An embryo I of windy seed conceived, Such as you say, and knit up in your belly; But I was nursed then by the dark, moist Earth, That is to say, the surfeits of the flesh, Suckling on blood and bile till I waxed strong And reached the fullness of my generation.” Was that her speaking through me? Is she real After all, or have I gone mad? She speaks Again! – “I am, and just as much as you.” Are we both real or mad? – But if she’s mad, That means she’s real; she’s real, then, either way. But am I mad? Or was I mad till now, And sore mistaken in my thoughts, but now Am mad no longer? – What nonsense is this! – Away, foul image! Leave my soul in peace! – This is a trick, I know. What should I think? What should I think? Oh, oh! what should I think? – No more, no more! – The deed might banish her; I’ll do it just this once; but after this Never again, no, never! Long, long enough have I endured the throes…
O, the steeple fell down on the daisies so dead, And they wrung out a chime from the bell; But a moment – ding, dong! – and its echo is fled, Never more on this churchyard to dwell. And a silence is left where a silence was not – And it frenzied the nightingale so; And he swore in his song – and he never forgot – That he’d seal up the sum of the woe. Half a century he wilts as he warbles each verse, Till the spirit flows out of the clay, And the chorus at last – he’ll no longer rehearse! – Comes the hacking wet choke of decay. See how he strains to force out one last moan! – He falls from off his tombstone, and is gone.
John Lambert is a self-proclaimed poet and aspiring classicist who hails from suburban Massachusetts. He has no academic credentials and has never before been published.