(As you will see, this poem borrows, with suitable acknowledgments, from the works of others, to inform its own meaning, and I hope to add richness to its texture and form.)
"My heart aches" John Keats wrote,
"And a drowsy numbness pains my sense"
I think, as I sit here, on the side of this
Old mattress, tired from long use and
Wearing broken springs, like rusting swords –
My numbness does not drowse,
Nor ache my heart.
There is a wound so raw,
So indescribable, a weariness
Of soul, that weighs me down, below
"The level of every day's most quiet need
By sun and candlelight" – Elizabeth Browning, that –
That makes the numbness slide into a coma
Of heart pain.
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a flyin'!"
Oh, still, in my deepest heart, I know
Ben Jonson meant less for this to be
A song of sorrow for a lost tomorrow, yet
It tells a searing truth to my sore heart,
There is no question, then, at least
None that bears repeating in the scalding air –
"Sheer plod makes plough down sillion shine,
And blue-bleak embers, ah, my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold vermillion."
Gerard Hopkins well describes the flaming, troubled