The Prisoner I

I have golden bars
Around  me, wide ceramic dishes
Filled with grapes, cheese and
Bread enough  of divers types
On  painted plates and crystal
Jugs of ruby wine, oak-casked
Warm   and all my own

But I pace, lion-like, measuring
The square  space in which my
Days  race away from me
Round  the square, round the
Square kashmir  carpet trodden
Edges  threadbare

But 1 have the key tucked away:
My  deepest pouch rubs its silk
Against silver: precious
Metal: a hard real object hangs
Heavy  in my printed garb, yet

I dare not touch it else I
Unlock  (with ease and no thought)
The golden  door
And  run far: once I smell my
Fear I am  done for.

So  I pad the floor, wear
My  days away:  delineate them
Down   one-by-one, keep my
Gaze  at bay, closet it and
Shutter it off
From  delights that gleam
The other  side
Of  the bars - too easily
Do  I see them, they
Tempt  me.

I must  use all skill
To  keep control: squeeze a
Life to fit a cage
And  wait

Until my time ripens slow to the full
Hanging growth  of fruit on vine:
Then I can
Pluck each minute rounded and
Sweet: eat a harvest, decline to
Wait, indulge my haste, emerge
Escape and spend  them, spread them,
How  I will swallow them whole,
Leave behind this golden place
But my  bars will have
Their toll
And  I must pay
Before I go.
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