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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

The Mirror Betrayed

By: Benjamin Rose

The sudden breeze of a lost summer day

When the fires of August scorching have passed

And humid heat on the drought-stricken grass

Leaves the air heavy and hot with decay

Whispers to me of the things I might say

That time has filched from my trembling grasp,

Though no leaves turn as of yet to a red

Damascene shroud on the dying year’s bed.

And as the Spring with its temperate rains

Spurs in July the lightning-swift shower

Till in the forkèd blue sky we exchange

Afternoon lull for the rage of an hour,

So, in the Paradise left by the strain

Of sudden storms that gild the green tower

Of oak trees in an enamel of dew,

So, I have traded my innocence true.

Youth was not only the time of delight,

Of all things hopeful and yet to begin,

Nor of benediction. It was the light

Of my earnest soul unclouded by sin

And fear and hate, until untrammeled spite,

Sorrow, and envy serrated my grin

With lust for power and wont to despise,

The mask inlaid over vacuous eyes.

Into the vacuous mirror I stare

And all I behold, a demon of fear,

Skulks from the recesses of his dark lair

And I am ashamed to answer how near

The Jungian Beast encircles, ensnares

The nerves of my loins and my heart with sheer

Faustian lust to destroy and pervert

All natural law and earn the world’s curse.

Deep in my heart the rot you inspired

Leaves me the rebel eternal and damned.

So I have longed for my own wretched pyre

My bones to consume, and scatter like sand

These heartbroken limbs, this horrid desire

Virulent, vengeful towards woman and man,

And shatter the optic lie of this grave.

All that it offered, the mirror betrayed.

We hold our armistice, mailed in disgust.

Each in his fist grasps the withering knife,

And your face is lurid, eyes red as rust

Slashed with the self-riven mark of despite.

And you and I, O my Enemy, trust

One of us shall dispossess of his life,

The heart unconquerable riven in twain,

Will to depravity, will to refrain.


Benjamin Rose is a poet born and raised in the D.C. area and the author of The Road Of Glass and Gardens And Graves. His work has appeared in The Dillydoun Review, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, and Cathexis Northwest Press. He studies English Literature at the Catholic University of America (Class of 2023) and started studying Urdu in 2022.


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