For these my thanks, not that I eat or sleep,
Sweat or survive, but that at seventeen
I could so blind myself in writing verse
That the wall shuddered and the cry came forth
And the numb hand that wrote was not my hand
But a wise animal's.
Then the exhaustion and the utter sleep.
O flagrant and unnecessary body,
So hard beset, so clumsy in your skill!
For these my thanks, not that I breathe and ache,
Talk with my kind, swim in the naked sea,
But that the tired monster keeps the road
And even now, even at thirty-eight,
The metal heats, the flesh grows numb again
And I can still go muttering down the street
Not seeing the interminable world
Nor the ape-faces, only the live coal.