My Dolphin, you only guide me by surprise, a captive as Racine, the man of craft, drawn through his maze of iron composition by the incomparable wandering voice of Phèdre. When I was troubled in mind, you made for my body caught in its hangman's-knot of sinking lines, the glassy bowing and scraping of my will. . . . I have sat and listened to too many words of the collaborating muse, and plotted perhaps too freely with my life, not avoiding injury to others, not avoiding injury to myself— to ask compassion . . . this book, half fiction, an eelnet made by man for the eel fighting my eyes have seen what my hand did.
From Selected Poems by Robert Lowell, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1976, 1977 by Robert Lowell. Used by permission.