The world has never given me a place,
And I was not designed to carve one out—
The magic shadows I could never trace,
Though I lived long enough, and was devout.
You, fragile creature, like the butterfly
Resplendent in the beauty of its wings,
Were I to clutch at you, then you might die,
While I have been beset by waspy stings.
Who made the world then? “God.” They taught me that,
My elders and my betters, well apprised
In how the world worked, was conjoined—they sat
Content with what authority devised.
Mine was another path. I chased that beauty
Rarest in all the world—in true love’s eyes—
Forsaking obligation, native duty,
The ways of money earnest to despise.
No trophies hung, no symbols of romance
Announce my name—the futile path I trod,
On which I faltered, brought no second glance
Of recognition, from you or from God.
My truest loves, two young men in their twenties,
John Keats and Wilfred Owen, both who died,
While I have lived: in my surplus no plenty’s,
For I have written more, but cut and dried.
I was not meant for death, but death-in-life,
A kind of shadow, insubstantial fate,
Prolonged by medication or by knife
Unwilling for this world so filled with hate.