Out in the Outer Darkness

Out in the outer darkness
you have to work instead of
being in the light, the
place of heat, the core fire,
the thing you were born with the gift to do
but can't
it's not allowed and
no money comes from it:  bright hot
flames to warm the hands against -
instead, all the pains tread here
and no water, I could not be further
from my own core, the words
I mourn them, and I do not read,
things pass at
pure speed
with no time to snatch the
starlight as I pass

out in the outer darkness means
forgetting, means a letting go,
my children and my friends -
instead I deal with fiends
and devils, sucking life
like a flea
it's a dreadful place to be
so far from the heart
the beat echoes not
my hearing can't catch it
and the memory let go
all my books a testament
to what was
but is no longer -

I have to be stronger in lower air
the place where no-one knows
the poets, with their streaming hair,
and the Grecian Urn
just a vase on the table
and the wreck of a ship
just a passing sail, and
St Agnes' Eve, mere fairytale.

I don't know how I stand it:
this standing drought
when all my heart is useless
and my days are fought.
Out in the outer darkness
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