He lived in torment with imagined threats,
Spinning a thread of hostile signs,
Brooding on friends as secret enemies
And seeking among indifferent minds a friend.
Silenced was Delmore’s joyous wit,
His bright good sense and irony
Recounting the folly of worldliness
And the blind ways of ambition and success.
He who was restless without company
Has died in naked loneliness,
Convulsed in a dark corridor outside his door
Where crumpled papers crowd the floor.
He knew himself as fated to despair
And traced from birth a black destiny.
His name, his people, his sad time
Composed the burden of his poetry.
It has the beauty of his honest thought,
Of gravest musings on the human state,
On thwarted dreams and forced deformities
And ever-resurgent hopes of light.
September 8, 1966