In Extremis

How can I go into the dark,
Away from your clasping hand,
Set sail on a shadowy bark
For the shore of an unknown land?

Your eyes look love into mine;
Your lips are warm on my mouth;
I drink your breath like a wine
Aglow with the sun of the South.

You have made this world so dear!
How can I go forth alone
In the bark that phantoms steer
To a port afar and unknown?

The desperate mob of the dead,
Will they hustle me to and fro,
Or leave me alone to tread
The path of my infinite woe?

Shall I cry, in terror and pain,
For a death that I cannot die,
And pray with a longing vain
To the gods that mock my cry?

Oh, hold me closer, my dear!
Strong is your clasp,—ay, strong,—
But stronger the touch that I fear,
And the darkness to come is long.
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