Cannot Sweeten

If that's water you wash your hands in
Why is it black as ink is black? —
Because my hands are foul with my folly:
Oh the lost time that comes not back! —

If that's water you bathe your feet in
Why is it red as wine is red? —
Because my feet sought blood in their goings;
Red red is the track they tread. —

Slew you mother or slew you father
That your foulness passeth not by? —
Not father and oh not mother:
I slew my love with an evil eye. —

Slew you sister or slew you brother
That in peace you have not a part? —
Not brother and oh not sister:
I slew my love with a hardened heart.

He loved me because he loved me,
Not for grace or beauty I had;
He loved me because he loved me;
For his loving me I was glad.

Yet I loved him not for his loving
While I played with his love and truth,
Not loving him for his loving,
Wasting his joy, wasting his youth.

I ate his life as a banquet,
I drank his life as new wine,
I fattened upon his leanness,
Mine to flourish and his to pine.

So his life fled as running water,
So it perished as water spilt:
If black my hands and my feet as scarlet,
Blacker redder my heart of guilt.

Cold as a stone, as hard, as heavy;
All my sighs ease it no whit,
All my tears make it no cleaner
Dropping dropping dropping on it.
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