Collegia – Ode 65: The Smoke of my Soul


I choke,
This is more than a joke,
All the gods I invoke.
Pouring out in voluminous masses
and clotting
and covering with soot
and smearing the brute
faces that leer distortedly through
the blue
smoke-laden atmosphere
at the circle of asses
dismissed from their classes
and assembled here,
or rotting,
or boring,
or snoring
with a resonant hoot
as of some siren blaring forth through the fog that
bords and iron-bound coast,
over the breakers rolling.
along the ceiling pour
billow after billow wafting,
veiling the windows with gauze
filling the throat with nause.

And as the grey clouds roll
I see my soul
as a room full of smoke,
fed by the coke
of gassy retorts,
in which the miasma distorts
the simple truth,
and pristine youth
has become prematurely old;
the creeds that I hear
wear a hideous leer
repulsive and cold
in the smoke of my soul,
in the smoke
that eclipses a host
of accepted beliefs that have substance no more
than a ghost
in the smoke of my soul!

12. 3. 29