"WHOM AM I?"
I stepped from my cell's confinement
calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
like a Squire from his country house.
I used to speak to my warders
freely and friendly and clearly,
as though it were mine to command.
I bore the days of misfortune
equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.
Or am I only what I know of myself?
struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat
yearning for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds
thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
tossing in expectation of great events,
powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
and before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army?
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!