The crumbling coastal palace lost its lure.
Slid into disrepair the structure sags,
there’s woodwork missing and the faded paint
can but be guessed at. In the hollow rooms
the dust assumes near-human status, mute,
but ever present. Warped and lockless doors
give to the balconies that sit above
the tepid sea, right on this scornful shore…
once, from my broken bench, I watched the last
strong ship set sail until the distance took
its dwindling shape away. This sorrow’s mine.
I didn’t chance upon it but was drawn
by Delphic promise, and have ever since
tried hard to leave here, to no purpose. Bound
by rite and custom, hope and base despair
I curse and praise my days and climb the stairs
to watch the sea, should anyone return
to take me to the islands of the pure,
the land of youth, my bond’s fulfilment. But
there won’t be any sails to come my way;
I know too well that I shall not partake
of the famed lotus on that promised shore –
here not enough, there far too much awake
I’ve spoilt my chance, not having gone before.

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