This disgusting thing that haunts me,
I found it as it found me
In secret midnight wanderings.
Freedom from it might be sweet;
Even so I savor slavery.
(To crave, to feast—)
At night I slip out and go find it which I seek,
Then—I stroke the firey claws of the beast,
Stoke it into ecstasy;
Higher burn the flames, consume me;
Pounding blood fogs everything;
Over and over I let it feed.
(To burn, to cease—)
When I forego my wanderings,
This flaming beast comes haunting;
Round and round it chases me.
Never can I get free
So long as it's pursuing.
All might be avoided if I slept through the midnight wanderings.
But it ever lurks even if I sleep,
And besides I like my beast.
My vows to stay away are pathetically weak
And when I can't sleep, and wander in the least,
The creature's flaming claws come seek
My pathetic vows and burn them like wheat,
Like a field of wheat struck by lightning
In blazing summer heat.
I am bound always and forever in captivity;
Freedom from pursuit it's never allowing.
I have a prince who might save me,
But—I wish I was sure, but—I'm not sure that I want to be freed.
I never tell my prince; all the same he knows, and weeps
Every time I slip out into the inky midnight and go wandering——
Oh God—oh God—oh God help me.