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The Serpent


In a gloomy night, in one’s tainted time,
Black serpent appears, sucking out my life.
Friendly enemy, sweet companion’s knife.
He has struck me with glances, burns, delight!
And what’s left unsaid, on a tomb is rhymed.

Did you see it coming, soft steps from behind,
Ah, he gave you water from the Mystic Lake
You were fading, farther than this veil of light,
You were not prepared, his clothes were dark red,
For the final stab, ash-bone for the rite…

No, I must be fair so here’s what I’ve found:
In sickness, despair, no one shall reach out
For soft, jagged hands that gold rings display
Stay away from them, royals with slick hair;
They only want hell if their hearts can’t bear…

Here you are, my darling, why’s your shadow thin?
Come, get some sunset for sunrise isn’t near,
Not one soul can hear you, let me breathe you in
Did you think I’d let you be alone, sleep still
Tomorrow’s rebirth for seen is soul ill…

Refugee for world’s sick, my heart’s playing chess
At the table, ticking, this place is a mess!
Shattered sheets, damaged bits: this broken shell.
And at midnight, terror: heaven feels like hell;
My poor heart is lost in a winter blaze.

Did you think I cared, my wit is God-like,
My sweet lily cries for twelve-and-half lives
Can’t you tell in hell there’s no place to share?
What I wish to have is a pretty wife.
Drop the masquerade, there’s no time to spear.

From red waltzes to seances, no, bless,
You are cold and heavy: hurry, black serpent,
On my Father’s grave, I beg you to pray!
For He’s like the speed of light; winged fell
For their wicked sins they’re resting down there.

Source: The Tree of Forgiveness by Edward Burne-Jones 1881-1882

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