Friday, July 8, 2011

To Sleep, on Her Last Kiss Goodbye

This is an older poem, but it is still pretty relevant at various times. And it is kind of fun...

To Sleep, on Her Last Kiss Goodbye

A frozen-hearted, virgin maid?
A wanton harlot smiling sly?
Or both at once? I know not what
To call this temptress, damsel Sleep.
I damn her to the nether-deep--
Then curse myself and beg her near!
The starry night, her ancient spell,
Creates a home of warmth for all
While I alone must suckle not
Upon the universal breast.
The fire has smoldered in the west,
Yet “day” and “night” are merely names;
My body’s numb, my mind’s a daze,
In this eternal waking death--
Where every tear and every breath
Are flawed and well-nigh worthless gems
I cast before her wandering eyes--
A gift! A tithe! A sacrifice!
Her luscious kiss, a paradise,
She seems to grant me, gained with ease:
A draught, a sip, makes heaven’s blood
The vilest dregs of bitter wine.
I think, At last her love is mine!
While fading fast, to sleep, to dream.
But when I wake, instead of her,
A wilted poppy takes her place.
This morning scene of my disgrace
Is cast and played, and played again!
And like the Fool whose part I take,
I’m none the wiser with each show.
But can you, Sleep, oh can you know,
That in your kiss there’s venom hid,
And that the ruddy of your lips
Is gotten from my dying heart?
Yet death is not yours to impart
(However much I wish it so);
Instead, I’m your Prometheus,
Enchained upon a rock of pain:
Asleep, awake, you e’er remain
My torment, feeding on my soul.
Each pick and nibble takes its toll
On one who is but mortal-born;
And every slumber traps me more
Within her web of gossamer.
I wonder if I can endure
The hope of what may never come--
Again she smiles, and strokes my cheek,
And wraps me in oblivion.
A blaze of fire! the rising sun
So rudely ends familiar dreams.
I know her, feel her in my veins,
But waking, truth is still unknown:
Was passion shared, or just my own?
I ponder as my mistress turns to go--
But through its sweetness, her last kiss
Did seem to have a biting pinch.