I dread to open doors. I dread to see
The great grey blank-faced Present stare at me,
The mocking goblin Future hollow-eyed,
And Past, still walking, though its time has died.
Past, fixed in time, yet fickly wavering:
A million varied countenances o'er thy features spring;
One moment, filled with joys so sweet their memory is grief,
Next, cruel beyond belief,
And flinging phantom pain at me from out the void:
A million wrongs, a million pangs, a million sins of magnitude unknown and unconfessed.
I shake and crawl at thy behest,
Who raisest ghosts of wickedness fron shreds of wrong long-dormant.
I flee thee--cling to thee--bliss yet torment,
"I was lovely," sayest thou;
Now thou art nightmare, thou art Present, haunting sleep and squeezing brow.
Door past door I flee,
Closing each with feverish hands behind,
Only to find
Again this room, this place--can it be Hell?--
Where Past and Present indistinguishable dwell:
No solace save in memory, and memory torment be.