Yours is the shame and sorrow 
But the disgrace is mine; 
Your love was dark and thorough, 
Mine was the love of the sun for a flower 
He creates with his shine. 
I was diligent to explore you, 
Blossom you stalk by stalk, 
Till my fire of creation bore you 
Shrivelling down in the final dour 
Anguish—then I suffered a balk. 
I knew your pain, and it broke 
My fine, craftsman’s nerve; 
Your body quailed at my stroke, 
And my courage failed to give you the last 
Fine torture you did deserve. 
You are shapely, you are adorned, 
But opaque and dull in the flesh, 
Who, had I but pierced with the thorned 
Fire-threshing anguish, were fused and cast 
In a lovely illumined mesh. 
Like a painted window: the best 
Suffering burnt through your flesh, 
Undressed it and left it blest 
With a quivering sweet wisdom of grace: but now 
Who shall take you afresh? 
Now who will burn you free, 
From your body’s terrors and dross, 
Since the fire has failed in me? 
What man will stoop in your flesh to plough 
The shrieking cross? 
A mute, nearly beautiful thing 
Is your face, that fills me with shame 
As I see it hardening, 
Warping the perfect image of God, 
And darkening my eternal fame.

This poem is in the public domain.