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The egoist's trick for everlasting service
Well-rendered unto one of quenchless need
Lies in the art of chilling by degrees
And leeching out the fire-blooded column
Into its bulb earth-sunken, numb and nerveless
And slowly entering the calming freeze
Before the dervish appetites can kick
And batter all life's trophies in their greed.
With ashen face, impassive as a golem
Full mindful of the smallest jot and tittle
The egoist tames his hands to serve, his quick
Crusted in rime as sharp as shale, and brittle.
But if that gelid mantle were to crack:

Then one might draw within
The lungs wind, and wail
Such a wailing
As the world could not begin
To will away,
Although so keen and frail
A word as this,
Weird-woven for a day
Of final failing,
Seems scarcely to exist
And scarce to kiss
The heart and hollow ears
Before it disappears
Into the wayward and the wind-strewn mist.

Yet none would hear if one should cry, Alack!
And ever, ever I am at your service,
For it is meet, God-willed, and all my purpose.

David DeBoe


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