Never to write again, not one word, no,
Never to find the firm certainty
Of the word on the page, formed, alive, aglow
With its angle like a smile, or sounding a key
Struck on a keyboard, singing; to give away
All joy, renounce, destroy all holy gifts,
O never, never.
Yet it was more than this, and more than joy,
More than the bric-a-brac enchanter’s game,
Now he was parent, more than illumined boy
Of words, parent to life, fathering name
And symbol, creator, God in his frenzy.
And it was life also, life in the word,
Life shaping in the delicate syllable,
Within the gong-like dissonance, heard
Like a stone shape, the terrible, endless call.
O to be maker, and in the act be made
Alive also. He was the maker, yet
As words took tones, as syllables assumed
Chorales of tone, not sound alone, he found
Their meaning, clear and young, and wavering, and doomed.
But that is dangerous, more feline
Than the tropic’s tooth, to see the soul
Naked, and the heart unguarded, to find in a line
Light showing not the part, but whole.
And so to the jungle, to trade slaves, to lose
Truth in a cloud of flesh and drugs, escape
Reality by action’s artifice.
Better, even, to watch the gangrene creep
Upward, serpentine, destructive, than see
Averted eyes accusing in a poem.
And never to write again, not one word,
no Never the word on the page, but rather to go
Vividly into damnation, to will it so.
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