A shameless thing, of every vileness capable,
It is as drab as dust, as earthly dust.
I perish of a nearness inescapable;
Its fatal coils about my limbs are thrust.
A shaggy poulp, embracing me, and pricking me,
And as a serpent cold against my heart,
Its branching scales are poisoned arrows sticking me;
Worse than their bite: repulsion's horrid smart.
Oh, were its sting a veritable knife in me!
But it is flaccid, clumsy, still and numb.
Thus sluggishly sucking the very life in me,
A torpid dragon, dreadful, deaf, and dumb.
With stubborn rings it winds in mute obscurity
And clings caressingly, its purpose whole.
And this dead thing, this loathsome black impurity,
This horror that I shrink from—is my soul.