“Poet and veteran of childhood, look!
See in me the obscene, for you have love,
For you have hatred, you, you must be judge,
Deliver judgement, Delmore Schwartz.
Well-known wishes have been to war,
The vicious mouth has chewed the vine.
The patient crab beneath the shirt
Has charmed such interests as Indies meant.
For I have walked within and seen each sea,
The fish that flies, the broken burning bird,
Born again, beginning again, my breast!
Purple with persons like a tragic play.
For I have flown the cloud and fallen down,
Plucked Venus, sneering at her moan.
I took the train that takes away remorse;
I cast down every king like Socrates.
I knocked each nut to find the meat;
A worm was there and not a mint.
Metaphysicians could have told me this,
But each learns for himself, as in the kiss.
Polonius I poked, not him
To whom aspires spire and hymn,
Who succors children and the very poor;
I pierced the pompous Premier, not Jesus Christ,
I picked Polonius and Moby Dick,
the ego bloomed into an octopus.
Now come I to the exhausted West at last;
I know my vanity, my nothingness,
now I float will-less in despair’s dead sea,
Every man my enemy.
Spontaneous, I have too much to say,
And what I say will no one not old see:
If we could love one another, it would be well.
But as it is, I am sorry for the whole world, myself
apart. My heart is full of memory and desire, and in
its last nervousness, there is pity for those I have
touched, but only hatred and contempt for myself.”