Three times I had the lust to kill, To clutch a throat so young and fair, And squeeze with all my might until No breath of being lingered there. Three times I drove the demon out, Though on my brow was evil sweat… . And yet I know beyond a doubt He’ll get me yet, he’ll get me yet.
I know I’m mad, I ought to tell The doctors, let them care for me, Confine me in a padded cell And never, never set me free; But Oh how cruel that would be! For I am young - and comely too … Yet dim my demon I can see, And there is but one thing to do.
Three times I beat the foul fiend back; The fourth, I know he will prevail, And so I’ll seek the railway track And lay my head upon the rail, And sight the dark and distant train, And hear its thunder louder roll, Coming to crush my cursed brain … Oh God, have mercy on my soul!
Some day I shall rise and leave my friends And seek you again through the world’s far ends, You whom I found so fair (Touch of your hands and smell of your hair!), My only god in the days that were. My eager feet shall find you again, Though the sullen years and the mark of pain Have changed you wholly; for I shall know (How could I forget having loved you so?), In the sad half-light of evening, The face that was all my sunrising. So then at the ends of the earth I’ll stand And hold you fiercely be either hand, And seeing your age and ashen hair I’ll curse the thing that once you were, Because it is changed and pale and old (Lips that were scarlet, hair that was gold!), And I loved you before you were old and wise, When the flame of youth was strong in your eyes, —And my heart is sick with memories.
“You came in out of the night And there were flowers in your hand, Now you will come out of a confusion of people, Out of a turmoil of speech about you.
I who have seen you amid the primal things Was angry when they spoke your name IN ordinary places. I would that the cool waves might flow over my mind, And that the world should dry as a dead leaf, Or as a dandelion see-pod and be swept away, So that I might find you again, Alone”
The girl in the tea shop Is not so beautiful as she was, The August has worn against her. She does not get up the stairs so eagerly; Yes, she also will turn middle-aged, And the glow of youth that she spread about us As she brought us our muffins Will be spread about us no longer. She also will turn middle-aged.
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, Stoln on his wing my three and twentieth year! My hasting days fly on wtih full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th. Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth, That I to manhood am arrived so near, And inward ripeness doth much less appear, That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th. Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow, It shall be still in strictest measure even To that same lot, however mean or high, Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven; All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great Taskmaster’s eye.