Robert Graves

The Castle

Walls, mounds, enclosing corrugations
Of darkness, moonlight on dry grass.
Walking this courtyard, sleepless, in fever;
Planning to use — but by definition
There’s no way out, no way out —
Rope-ladders, baulks of timber, pulleys,
A rocket whizzing over the walls and moat —
Machines easy to improvise.

                                              No escape,
No such thing; to dream of new dimensions,
Cheating checkmate by painting the king’s robe
So that he slides like a queen;
Or to cry, ‘Nightmare, nightmare!’
Like a corpse in the cholera-pit
Under a load of corpses;
Or to run the head against these blind walls,
Enter the dungeon, torment the eyes
With apparitions chained two and two,
And go frantic with fear —
To die and wake up sweating by moonlight
In the same courtyard, sleepless as before.