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The Snow Leopard

by Robert O’Connor

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IV. Conclusion: The Pursuit

From this I woke, I know not when,
Around my neck a ruby blest
I gave as promise, blood to blood,
To mingle life with treasured life,
To her I then defiled by flight.
The cabin built to be our nest,
A cursed place life might have blest,
Burned with a fuel no flames could slake,
A bonfire raging with no break
For all time’s ages yet to come.

And one last mad miraculous piece,
That from my heart a stream of blood
Welled from that most dishonored place,
Dark blood that always seeps and flows
To mark with spot and streak the snows.

I know not cold nor God’s own heat
But walk the endless snowfields far,
Renewed by blood which I must sow
So that the sanguine blight may grow,
The only flaw in endless white,
Horizon to horizon pure,
Sin’s blemish from the heart I bear.

I walk the gauntlet of the pines
As though they mark my path to tell
The silent beast come out of Hell
From deep within the cabin’s fire
Who seeks me in my wandering state.
And if not arching trees above,
My blood cries out the route I trace.

She is so very pale a sight
I rarely see her on the snow,
But when, at night, we speed our pace
I see green eyes in a moonlit face.

Our blessedness will have no scope
While my heart generates this flood,
Nor will her vengeance end in hope
Until she dries my boundless blood.

My nemesis comes. I would not flee
If only I could choose to rest,
But while I bleed, my blood compels
I hide my heart from her I seek.

I crave some place my heart may break
And all my blood be shed at once
That I may sooth the leopard’s ache
With what remains of meat and bone.
Then rage and fear we might forsake,
We two fulfilled in pain and hate.

Perhaps our chase will gain reprieve
Before the last of earth is done
If some one mutual act relieve
The fire of us whom love doth shun.

Till then, I have but grief to give
While to no end we hourly speed.
It is an eternal curse to live
If peace comes only to the dead.

Copyright © 2015 by Robert O’Connor

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