In the nether regions of vagueness

I dwelt in a dream one night:

Seemingly undisturbed I hovered —

Peace-enfolded, held by a guard,

A trustworthy hand with loving aim,

Feeling nothing, just awaiting...


Then, almost suddenly and not suddenly at all

I felt, there was something bound to happen soon;

Was it presentiment or a warning sent? —

A presence, dimly sensed but unannounced,

A kind of tension, but not frightening.

I waited and yet was not excited.


As it began: slowly, gently and heralding,

I knew I was prepared and knew I had to be.

The hand held me still, supporting and helping.

At first I felt slightly disoriented,

Then a shiver gripped my soul, darksensing,

And a pressure built within, like horror


And yet not like horror, slowly intensifying

Up to a level where feelings of guilt began —

Suddenly misery sprang at me from nowhere

And yet from within, from regions within my soul

Which, I felt, I had not known before —

But I had suspicions somewhere in my heart:


It felt like an old wound, scarred, but not healed;

It was like a spider, hiding in a web;

Like a bitter pill; a nightmare pronouncing guilt:

Some unfinished duty maybe, a lapse —

Anyhow something within me, suspended

But not forgotten, kept, waiting for judgement.


I was ashamed, rapidly seized by remorse —

A remorse which took me like a powerful maelstrom,

Like a storm that raged painfully within my soul,

Trying to tar me apart from the inside —

It shook me, slashed me, bent me, gnawed at my heart...

And yet the hand shielded me from the worst.


I knew I would have to break but for the hand —

And if I had to bear it for all eternity

It would hold me still, but not to protect!

No, to make me bear it all, every little bit —

All my failings, wicked deeds, thoughtless crimes,

The essence that condemned me for all times.