Forty years ago, I would have sold my soul (like him)
for a love so strong the self dissolves in it.
And it’s possible I did. For beauty feels blameless when frozen
in a stereopticon two-in-one a sepia-toned moment of pure
radiance the star inside the sapphire’s liquid blue.
And I’d do it again only more so to be sanctified like that
brushed by grace held harmless if only as an illusion
in that dazzling light. It will not come again not now
at my age. What’s past is all there is and what remains
seems hardly worth the candle. No one inquires or seeks
to take some benefit from my hard-won knowledge and truly
I have little left to give. The days are an abscess whose odor
chokes the patient in his bed. I long for them to be done. All
that’s left to hope . . . You know the rest: cries of execration.
I am a madman and his victims all in one.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 40 Number 3, on page 31
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