Robert Lowell


My Dolphin, you only guide me by surprise, 
captive as Racine, the man of craft, 
drawn through his maze of iron composition 
by the incomparable wandering voice of Phèdre.  
When I was troubled in mind, you made for my body  
caught in its hangman's-knot of sinking lines, 
the glassy bowing and scraping of my will. . . .  
I have sat and listened to too many 
words of the collaborating muse, 
and plotted perhaps too freely with my life,  
not avoiding injury to others, 
not avoiding injury to myself-- 
to ask compassion . . . this book, half fiction,   
an eelnet made by man for the eel fighting  
my eyes have seen what my hand did.