When you go to sleep, my gloomy beauty, below a black marble monument, when from alcove and manor you are reduced to damp vault and hollow grave;
when the stone—pressing on your timorous chest and sides already lulled by a charmed indifference—halts your heart from beating, from willing, your feet from their bold adventuring,
then the tomb, confidant to my infinite dream (since the tomb understands the poet always), through those long nights in which slumber is banished,
will say to you: "What does it profit you, imperfect courtisan, not to have known what the dead weep for?" —And the worm will gnaw at your hide like remorse.
Keith Waldrop, "Posthumous Remorse," The Flowers of Evil, copyright © 2006 by Keith Waldrop. Published by Wesleyan University Press. Used by permission.
Date Published: 2006-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/posthumous-remorse