William Ernest Henley

(1849 - 1902 / Gloucester / England)

There's a Regret


There's a regret
So grinding, so immitigably sad,
Remorse thereby feels tolerant, even glad. ...
Do you not know it yet?

For deeds undone
Rnakle and snarl and hunger for their due,
Till there seems naught so despicable as you
In all the grin o' the sun.

Like an old shoe
The sea spurns and the land abhors, you lie
About the beach of Time, till by and by
Death, that derides you too --

Death, as he goes
His ragman's round, espies you, where you stray,
With half-an-eye, and kicks you out of his way
And then -- and then, who knows

But the kind Grave
Turns on you, and you feel the convict Worm,
In that black bridewell working out his term,
Hanker and grope and crave?

"Poor fool that might --
That might, yet would not, dared not, let this be,
Think of it, here and thus made over to me
In the implacable night!"

And writhing, fain
And like a triumphing lover, he shall take,
His fill where no high memory lives to make
His obscene victory vain.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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