1667 c/o Clam Simmons

John Milton

When young I was famous for great hair
it grew as I grew handsome in appearance
At school I trained to master the rapier’s grip
I wielded the bit like Attician wit. My fertile
mind was perpetually agape ready to devour
the works of Latin as if English were classic
tongue. My sails have been swayed by tempting
breezes, the courting bellows of pandemonium
but the long arms of horde’s approval could not
pull me away from pressing into the dominant
catalogues of thought. I lost decades to the raptures
of discovery, slurping through vellum
like a drunkard at the bunghole. The lucubration
‘twas epick, the long journey of learned reverie
required eternal squinting by candlelight
the glow of my pearls diminished to a desperate
pawing as if my eyes could beg Phoebus to hold
still the setting sun’s chariots, to suspend
the horses that ride into the dusk. Raving,
I spent dark seasons contending with bedlam’s
urges resigning myself to the manacles
of shadow. Mercifully my daughters read
to me, nursing the poison from my depraved state
feeding me, sliced chapters of the familiar
loaves of my conviction. Sometimes at night
after working the office of dictation I snuff
the wicks so the house may swallow a portion
of my daily fare. I imagine in the momentary
yoke of dull faculty we share lamentation.
Our weak body reminded of the strong judge,
who, with shorn locks and pricked eyes
supplicated for renewed agency. Unsatisfied
with mere petition, Samson pressed out to topple
the pillars, binding no strange foxtails in the service.
Juxtaposed, my conquerors are immaterial restraints
I struggle to teem through hallowed shutters
to escape the hindrance of my immediate cell,
to capture a script of the fall before the great release.
Finally exhausted, I might see Eden in the sequel.