What is this sere, six-sided, empty cell?
Mere metaphor? A paradox? a grave
Deep dug and shaped to prison fast in hell
The spirit self-condemned, too strong to save?
Worked from without t'were hard enough to take --
(Task Viviene with Merlin, locked in stone).
What is thy crime? What failure or mistake
That could deserve infinity alone?
This no dessert, nor penance too dear bought
Nor Justice e'en, but silent suicide -
Tis _thee_, not they, this doorless room hath wrought.
No light commitment then, thus to abide:
It is thyself that thou must first forgive
Unlock thy dreams, and learn again to live.
31 Mar 1997