Will these chilling encumbrances never cease?
I am haunted by want, my soul turns to desolation.
Desire ruthlessly burns a forbidden path,
a flaming stepping stone along sets my fate.
But I can never be free from rejection,
never retire from this incessant burden.
It is who I am.
They call me parasite,
they say I am a leech adhered at the heel;
determined, stubborn, indignant.
I will suck you dry until you are a mere shell,
but what will you get in return?
A hopeless dream of chances yet unheard?
A faithful drone by your side eternally?
I would laugh, because you should know:
That is not who I am.
Today I was sifting through the dusty labyrinth of my computer archives, and found this poem. It’s from a few years back, when I was taking a course on American Literature. I wrote it in response to the character Lily Bart from The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.
In The House of Mirth, Lily’s a beautiful, young socialite in 1905 New York, whose biggest character flaw is her pride. In the poem (which is written from Lily’s perspective), I aimed to get across her desperate desire for financial security. When she turns to a married man for support, though, he asks for more from her-more than she is willing to give. In the end, Lily may be a ‘gold-digger’, but she isn’t willing to sacrifice herself.