Dark stalker, nighthawk of the hallways
Why put on your corridor mask
Hiding the haunted look in your eyes?
For me not the advocate's staunch
Position, not the illuminated days;
Pacing the hallways, I cannot bask
In a false accord, innocent fool amid the wise.
Where then, where do your uneasy feet
Bear you, dour one? in this nervous
Marriage of dark and life, to what fabled stream
Draw your nocturnal pursuits?
Barn owls have it easy, the least fleet
Mouse becomes supper, a simple service
To Lord Darwin and his fittest -- I dream
Nightmarish visions of Styxian roots.
But that river leads beyond mortal fears
A path without return: dark one,
Must your steps force you beyond your shell
To trod the ways denied to man?
Do barn owls weep? I have seen no tears
Wasted on the cold and pitiless sun;
When the time comes to drink of that well
Who can deny the mindless plan?
When the sky breaks, you descend
Into your sybil's inferno without thought
Following the trodden path down into night
One day, you will not find the markers back.
And if I don't, will the world bend
To thrust me out? Small the loss: I never sought
An uneasy bed; the night itself dooms me to sight,
A call I cannot deny, a blindness I lack.
What call is so strong, you cannot turn
Your back? Greater men than you look away
Though the pit yaws beneath their feet:
Would you set yourself above them?
Far beneath them if at all, brother: I must spurn
The dextrous world, try to stay
The treacherous sunrise winding its sheet
About illusion's hem.
What delusion! would you smiling name
This solid table and these books, this proud faculty
Which has bourne you, as a disease of the mind?
Who are you, so deluded and so crass?
All your accusations I gladly claim
But not smiling: smiles come with difficulty
When you your soul as well as my ghost bind:
I am your reflection in the glass