Hail to thee, insidious malcontent!
Myself thou never wert,
Yet from some far-off plane wast sent,
To infiltrate my heart,
And from thence to permeate all the senses.
The dratted door was left ajar,
And through it issued a bracing breath;
All giddy, I mistook it for ardor,
As if sudden spring burned in my breast--
and reached for it in vain, grasping air.
Just when my hands had given up the search,
The stealthy wraith commenced its wily scheme
Of occupation, to sneak beneath my skin,
Out of sight, yet unavoidable to the mind,
To take up residence in my protesting form.
Yea, thou knowest, so well, how to fill a vase
Of shrinking violets with cheap champagne,
To nudge and prod, to induce a trance,
To guffaw at my maudlin pranks,
To overhear even my most indecent deliberations.
Return to the dusky plane, thou wily pest!
Though thou art my first thought when I awake,
I would that that wouldst return to thine own nest
As the day advances within thy clutches,
Why? Why? Why? shrieks the neurotic loon in my head.
A dreamless sleep falls from the shimmering leaves. --Sappho fragment, tr. Andrew Bellon I changed, thickened, ...
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