Phantom, Are You Weary Also?

        Still - (I said)
Ways there are to conquer pain,
        And I have will.
        I meditate
To overwhelm and overstrain
My soul until no strength remain
       To kick against my fate.
Everything must be dissolved
In the furnace-heat - I am resolved.

Too weary now for thought or tears,
         I force the pace without a pause.
The fever buzzes in my ears
         And floods my face and draws
A veil of blood across my eyes -
And it must not be otherwise.

The body must be loaded
          With burdens that augment,
The spirit spurred and goaded
          And driven till
          Its strength be spent -
The will must not relent.

And when each night I reach half-dead
With long fatigue my lonely bed,
          I whisper, “Are you satisfied,
          Phantom ever at my side?
What laborings shall win release,
What monstrous excess purchase peace?
          Phantom, how long yet before
          The night when I can shut the door,
Put out the light, sink down and wind
My body in the quilts and find
           That you are there no more?”

Ann Keith

If you have any comments on this poem, Ann Keith would be pleased to hear from you.