The Hole in My Curtain

It is because of the hole in my curtain.

I have stared through the torn space
Into Life’s tortured face
As she leaned low and treadled her loom,
Watching, watching for inevitable doom.
And I have seen the haggard shadows flit
Over the tapestries she wove, bit by bit
Feverishly, her lips shrieking gay lies;
And always the tired song in her endless eyes.
I have watched the Form with his weary
            cynical face,
His pale smile, his definite, measured pace,
Gliding forward and gliding back like a
thing condemned
        from end to end.

And calmly slitting Life's woven cloths
And they have wondered that I should laugh!
Marvelled at the potent wines I quaff.
Marvelled that I should dance on their God's
            dried flesh,
Shape a lute from a bone of His; weave a mesh
Of mirthless melody; that I should find Sin fair,
Circle her body and sleep in her odorous hair.
They have marveled that I should mock the day,
Throw my veil over the sun and smile at Fate's
             old play;
Lead my soul down the ribald, flowered path.
They have marveled. . . they have wondered
that I should laugh.
                    in my curtain.
I have looked too long through the hole.

From On a Grey Thread (Will Ransom, 1923) by Elsa Gidlow. This poem is in the public domain.