Handrail held half-aft,
Head swirling green star-scree of blood;
But seeks at some hour this day to descend the stair,
Greed-lusting for scones and the hot Ethiope brew.
Palm-sweat and stomach-shiver
Mind thumps meek memory
Of burghers' daughters half-clad
That danced year's eve with stumble-step
On strewn wood.
Faces of leering lads false
That prodded me to down ale flagons unreckoned
Till lauds had rung.
Many such an eve have I strayed here lost
On this isle of ivory charms.
Many nights spent in vain grasping,
Ruining brain's force with reckless revel.
My head yet unhoary is near ghost-drifting,
Gone its old strength before the landing.
(Written Jan. 1, 2004, three or so hours after breakfast--thus 5:00 or 6:00 p.m.? In homage to Ezra Pound's "The Seafarer.")