Alexander Pope

(at the bedside of his dying mother)

She is a vicious hell-struck woman
the like of whom I will not easily consider.

She is the size of granite after all,
a whole hillside of it and liable to shifting.

Her voice is neither cackle nor growl
but of the sort that sickens.

She is poison garbled in some greater substance
and as ice in most every respect excepting the possibility of thaw.

She is leprous, yet like the worm
capable of returning those parts of herself previously disappeared.

If her eyes should fail,
it is the world which becomes invisible.

Should her breath issue broken,
it is we who in our guttering extinguish.

She is horrid, quite simply put
and a woman we are best rid of.

 

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