A man there is of fire and straw
consumed with fire, whom first I saw
once at a dance, where nearer and nearer
there swirled a mist, and lights grew dim,
And I came face to face with him
outlined against me in a mirror,
my own eyes staring from a mirror.
As red as wine, as white as wine,
his face which is not and is mine
and apes my face's pantomime.
It makes a threatening movement, halts,
and orchestras in perfect time
continue the Blue Danube Waltz,
heavily dying to a waltz.
He makes a movement and retires,
this man of straw and many fires,
Iago doubled with Othello;
often I startle up in bed
to find him lying there, my fellow;
often I wish that he were dead,
and hack him often skin and bone,
and dreaming often, hear my own
life's blood drip on the crumpled pillow,
where once, immortal as a stone,
true love lay strangled by Othello.
Wanderers outside the gates, in hollow
landscapes without memory, we carry
each of us an urn of native soil,
of not impalpable dust a double handful
carelessly gathered (was it garden mould,
or wood-soil fresh with hemlock needles, pine
and princess pine, this little earth we bore
in secret, vainly, over the frontier?)