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Oscar Wilde (from the Irish of Brendan Behan)

After all the witIn a sudden fitOf fear, he skipped it.



That body once lively

Dumb in the darkness

Quiet, but for candles

Blazing beside him,

His elegant form

and firm gaze exhausted.

Exiled now from the cafes

To sanctity's desert

The young prince of Sin

Broken and withered.

Lust left behind him

Gem without lustre

No whiskey for a stiffner

But cold holy water.

The young king of Beauty

Narcissus broken.

But the pure star of Mary

As a gleam on the ocean.

Sweet is the way of the sinner,

Sad, death without God's praise.

My life on you, Oscar boy,

Yourself had it both ways.

Translated from Irish by Ulick O'Connor


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