Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DRUNKARD, by HERBERT KAUFMAN

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THE DRUNKARD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Flabby faced and sodden eyed
Last Line: We gazed on him, you and I.
Subject(s): Alcoholism & Alcoholics; Drunkards; Alcohol Abuse

FLABBY faced and sodden eyed;
Lips on which foul curses ride;
Leering, sneering, gulping, fearing
Blindly what he cannot see—
God, why must such horrors be?
Cruel thoughts that lurk and hide:
Lusts that wait their time and bide
In his brain until his strength
Fades and gives them chance at length:
Smirching clean things with the mud
Ambuscaded in his blood:
All the best of him in thrall
Impotent to heed the call
Of his self-respect: his pride
Groping blindly for a guide:
Numb and dumb the soul of him:
Rank and dank the whole of him:
Laughter guzzling in his throat
Hear the brutal Bacchic note!
Now we know him, he's unmasked.
Once in Delphos as he basked
Putrid 'neath the Grecian sun,
When the orgies' course was run:
Lying, naked, shameless, vile
To the passer-by the while:
Goat-legs, mangy, smeared with muck:
Lifeless as fat swine stuck
By the butcher in his sty:
From a clean, green hill, near by
We gazed on him, you and I.

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