Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AUTOBIOGRAPHY, by CLEMENT WOOD

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AUTOBIOGRAPHY, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: I dug a square hole
Last Line: And melilot.
Subject(s): Caesar, Julius (100-44 B.c.); Solomon (10th Century B.c.)

I dug a square hole
With midnight toil,
And buried my soul
In garden soil,
Under the roots
Where the ants creep,
And the pale shoots
Waken from sleep.

And deep in mire,
With spade all muddy,
I buried the fire
That is my body,
Where swampfires hung
Within the dark,
With adder's tongue
And yew to mark.

And where sky clings
Low to a hill,
I buried my wings,
Folded and still,
Within a narrow
Trodden spot,
Under the yarrow
And melilot.

Where silence is,
And no feet pass
Of tufted grass,
As long miles roll
Into a plain,
In a jagged hole
I buried my brain.

In a toil for bread
I buried my youth;
Under beauty dead
I buried my truth,
With Solomon
And his loves forgotten,
And Helen gone,
And Caesar rotten.

And then my tongue,
Half-severed, spoke
Flatly among
The world's pale folk:
"I am one of you:
I am not as high
As the low dew
That knows no sky;

"I am less than one:
I am as low
As any man
Can ever go.
Then take me in
In the crawling herd
Of other men!"
This was my word.

They took me in.
I was no higher
Than buried men
Under the mire;
I was as gay
With golden mirth
As a somber day
Beneath the earth.

They took me in --
And then they found
My secret sin
Still underground:
For out of sight
And out of knowing
My body white
Was lifting, growing;

My supple brain
Was clouding out,
My youth again
Woke like a shout,
My wings were longer,
My truth was breathing,
My soul, grown stronger,
Was waking, wreathing

Its melody
To a sword and a spear!
And on this tree
They have nailed me here;
Above this narrow
Trodden spot,
Over the yarrow
And melilot.

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