Oh that I could hide what others deem vile intent
At night when making ready for my bed,
Or in the morning when I first awake,
My eyes are captured by the sight of corruption not earned.
The cruel marks of time and age
Written on me as on a too accepting page
A story that I can not understand
That in a space of far too few years has spanned.
To strip the sorry detritus from my frame;
The withered bark, the skin, lacklustre hair.
And deck my bones with supple flesh;
Press within these gaping sockets, those moist eyes
To exchange with others looks none should despise.
I know the remedy, the antidote, the magic formula devised.
So on the morrow, I take me to the public gardens,
And so I make my first encounter: a mother with her little child
I look into the basket as if beguiled.
Peer in and peering, my eager mouth grows moist.
Lean in the cradle where the sleeping child awakes,
And looks up at me with dark and lustrous eyes.
His misty view of me confused by the surrounding skies.
A halo round my bending head diffused,
A halo borrowed from Lucifer, my lord.
Angel of the morning, of light, not by time abused.
Leaning low to better taste and smell the breath
That sweetly pours from out the mouth and from the skin,
And I, leaning beneath the protective linen of the canopy:
That gauzy shield that from the sun protected
The infant’s mother hovering there; has she suspected?
Her justly proud yet worried face
The infant lying there, my exulting heart beats at a faster pace.
And I, with pretence at adoration and of love,
Lean closer. Suck from the tiny helpless frame the antidote.
My teeth my tongue, my working jaw
Delighting in the nectar. Nothing tasted quite so sweet as this.
And I, rejuvenated by such a sly and furtive trick.
Each and every passing athlete and strolling youth
I shall by obsequious and charming perfidy
Bring to me with promise of innocent or profane delicious sport.
His innocence, he thinks, protection from vile deeds.
He holds within him what I desire most since I lost it.
The purest beverage to pass my lips. He has his desires. I have my needs.
Surrounded by, pressed in on every side, humanity
They are my game, my aim, my needs, my sustenance.
Their every desire to show off in their vanity
The foolish, silly mother in her trust, holds out to me
Her tender offspring, spilling over with that for which I lust.
I have my desires. She has her trust.
I am at a banquet; surrounded by groaning tables so prepared
A feast of youthful preparations, no ingredient spared.
And so I look around me, and everywhere I see
The medicine, the drugs, the linctuses that would restore me
I know that if I search that nectar can be found
In inner arm, a young child’s tears, in infant’s breath,
His heart, in lovers’ tears, in Venus’s mound.
I’d rip it from the Mother’s chalice even if it should result in death.
Here my eyes and mind rake the sight:
A strong and muscled supple neck
Rising from a youthful rounded shoulder
Along and to where a vibrant and pounding vein
Carries the bringer of my new morning:
Honeyed, scarlet vessel I look upon its beauty with disdain
To dart and burrow beneath the crispest locks
Till there, hidden in the sweet angle of the jaw
I’d sip and sup and sup again until I’ve drunk
My fill and how cheerfully I would ignore
His pleading that I should thus rob him of
That which he values not one bit: his youth.
And I would drink deeply from the fountain that he was.
His life blood, the fountain of his being, his youth.
And so I lie in wait, a somnolent and passive hunter.
My web baited and hung with pretty trinkets, baubles.
To bring the silly unsuspecting butterflies and tiny birds
Bright and sparking things. Soft, moist and luscious things.
The blood of youth; youth’s blood, so rapaciously to draw.
I have seen him so often from my window
As he strolled by in Spring and Summer days
Not quite a child; still not a man.
Stretched so tight and firm about him as if new made,
His skin, a darker hue or a northern shade.
I would take on the guise of the fabled Helen,
A Beatrice or perhaps an unsung common whore.
Rattle the beads at the doorway of my chamber.
Invite him in with promises of ecstasy and more,
A parody of connubial bliss
And bending to his full red lips, a kiss.
But with no affection offered or designed;
A feast for one. A lonely feeding frenzy.
From his youthful breast, his stomach
His tumescent inner thigh.
No lust! But deeply drink of that
Which he has overtly in abundance,
And I have not, for that I lost. O! cruel malady.
Make no pretence, my blade to stay or stop,
And if that youthful harridan had just one drop
Of that which my thirst desired, I’d suck it dry, and not restrained.
A philtre created in the cradle where youth stands.
A philtre created for myself; a love potion for myself alone.
From where’re it lies: in pretty cheek; in breast; in thigh.
Or where else it lay, and then, satiated for the present,
Discard the empty husk that I had drained.
And mindful of myself and of my needs,
Remembering that I must still fight to reverse
The ravages of age, of time, the curse.
Would search eternally for that which breathes or bleeds.
I have seen a nest of rabbits, freshly born
In sweetest hay; their mother’s stomach hair so lined.
My trembling hand would reach inside,
Drink the youth and prettiness of their newborn souls
Turn them up towards the light,
Each a glass of sun warmed ruby wine.
Then drain them to the lees.
Capture within my mouth and throat
Their loveliness. Their elusive and vital part.
I would snatch fledglings from their nest, the bough, the air
And drain their miniscule hearts of the scarlet fluid there.
Then rush to looking glass and scan my image within,
And is my eye a little brighter? And my skin?
My skin; translucent? A little softer? Tighter perhaps?
My lips seem fuller, or could it be the light?
Perhaps more red.Is there more to what you said?
Or are they thus where I had fed, where others bled.
You see me in the public gardens, on the bench
In early evening sunshine, quite alone.
But if you should draw near, ignore the stench.
‘Tis not the smell of putrefaction or advancing age.
The youth who lies behind, half under leaves and grass.
His face is white or is it grey?
Cold, the colour and the feel of polished stone.
But I look younger, do I not? Look younger than the day before?
Or have you forgot?
Or should I still go out perchance and gather in the harvest a little more?