Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, REVENGE, by AMY LOWELL

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

REVENGE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: All night I read a little book
Last Line: Go softly then, and go wellsped.

All night I read a little book,
A very little book it was.
It had a pretty, shimmering look
Like silver threaded into gauze.

I read it till the windows turned
Into blue ghosts which stared at me.
The fire tittered as it burned.
A dwarfish sneer perched on my knee.

Who was it put the poison there?
Who has conceived this hellish thing --
To lay a sightless, soundless snare
Amid its lovely whispering?

So gently came the rush of rhymes,
So lightly breathed the poison in --
Who thinks of cinquecento crimes,
White hellebore on jessamine?

I took that little shy, sleek book
And set a crimson match to it.
It crinkled like a freshet brook,
And flaked and vanished, bit by bit.

There was no book my hands could hold,
No book my eyes could ever see,
But round my head it ran, a bold
Ironical phylactery.

I cannot read the book again,
But there's no need, it scalds my head,
A strip of livid, living pain
I shall not lose till I am dead.

For hate is old as eagle peaks,
And hate is new as sunrise gulls,
And hate is ravening vulture beaks
Descending on a place of skulls.

Hate is a torch, hate is a spur,
Hate will accomplish my design:
The author's first biographer!
I pray, O Hate, that task be mine.

I shall not need to criticize
Nor look the subject up at all,
But simply turn round both my eyes
And gaze at my brain's inner wall.

There I shall see a fresco wreath
Of letters moulded of dried tears,
And annotated underneath
The things I've thought and thought for years.

'Twill be a pleasant job, I think,
To crumble up those dusty tears,
And stir them thickly in my ink:
Hate paid at last his long arrears.

My footnotes will enrich the brew
With colours I've brought back from Hell.
I'll write down all I ever knew.
By Satan's ears, I'll write it well!

By Satan's tongue! I'll tell the truth,
And not one word will add to it,
From his egregious, twisted youth
To his last frozen torture fit.

I'll write down his biography
So that the world will die of laughter.
I'll pin him like a squirming fly,
A comic spasm of hereafter.

I'll make his sins a jig of mirth,
His loves so many masterpieces
Of high derision. I will dig
Bare the cold roots of his caprices.

I'll sling about him every soul
He squeezed and drained to give him drink.
His wife gone mad -- I'll make it droll.
Bless the Hell colors in my ink!

I'll leave him not a decent rag
Of tragedy to wrap about him.
I'll hang him up as a red flag
Till every street boy learns to shout him.

I've taken up a pretty whim,
But, tit for tat, he had his chance.
And I may end by blessing him,
My partner in this ghoulish dance.

He slew me for a time -- admitted;
But I shall slay him for all time.
Poor shrivelled clown whom I've outwitted,
I pardon you your poisoned rhyme.

Go peacefully, for I have done
With you, and your false book is dead.
There's sorrow, too, in having won.
Go softly then, and go wellsped.

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net