Thy words are torture to me, that scarce grieve thee—
That entire death shall null my entire thought;
And I feel torture, not that I believe thee,
But that I cannot disbelieve thee not.
Shall that of me that now contains the stars
Be by the very contained stars survived?
Thus were Fate all unjust. Yet what truth bars
An all unjust Fate's truth from being believed?
Conjecture cannot fit to the seen world
A garment of its thought untorn or covering,
Or with its stuffed garb forge an otherworld
Without itself its dead deceit discovering;
So, all being possible, an idle thought may
Less idle thoughts, self-known no truer, dismay.
How many masks wear we, and undermasks,
Upon our countenance of soul, and when,
If for self-sport the soul itself unmasks,
Knows it the last mask off and the face plain?
The true mask feels no inside to the mask
But looks out of the mask by co-masked eyes.
Whatever consciousness begins the task
The task's accepted use to sleepness ties.
Like a child frighted by its mirrored faces,
Our souls, that children are, being thought-losing,
Foist otherness upon their seen grimaces
And get a whole world on their forgot causing;
And, when a thought would unmask our soul's masking,
Itself goes not unmasked to the unmasking.