Poetry, Art & Lint

Maljam's Poetry Blog

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Slough of Despond

The Slough of Despond

At sunset only swamp
Afforded pursey tufts of grass.. these gave,
I sank. Each humus-sallowed pool
Rattled its cynic's lamp
And croaked: "We lay Apollo in his grave;
Narcissus is our fool."

My God, it was a slow
And brutal push! At last I struck the tree
Whose dead and purple arms, entwined
With sterile thorns, said: "Go!
Pluck me up by the roots and shoulder me;
The watchman's eyes are blind.'

My arms swung like an axe.
And with my tingling sword I lopped the knot:
The labyrinthine East was mine
But for the asking. Lax
And limp, the creepers caught me by the foot,
And then I toed their line;

I walk upon the flood:
My way is wayward; there is no way out:
Now how the weary waters swell, -
The tree is down in blood!
All the bats of Babel flap about
The rising sun of hell.

Robert Lowell © 1946 'Lord Weary's Castle'