Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Ballad Of Reading Gaol

(To my beloved friend M)

I know not whether laws be right,
or whether laws be wrong;
all that we know who lie in gaol
is that the walls are strong;
and that each day is like a year,
a year whose days are long.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
is a foul and dark latrine,
and the fetid breath of living Death
chokes up each grated screen,
and all, but Lust, is turned to dust
in Humanity´s machine.

With midnight always in one´s heart,
and twilight in one´s cell,
we turn the crank, or tear the rope,
each in his separate Hell,
and the silence is more awful far
than the sound of a brazen bell.

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