The Destroyer of a Soul by Lionel Johnson

To ————

I hate you with a necessary hate.
First, I sought patience: passionate was she:
My patience turned in very scorn of me,
That I should dare forgive a sin so great,
As this, through which I sit disconsolate;
Mourning for that live soul, I used to see;
Soul of a saint, whose friend I used to be:
Till you came by! a cold, corrupting, fate.

Why come you now? You, whom I cannot cease
With pure and perfect hate to hate? Go, ring
The death-bell with a deep, triumphant toll!
Say you, my friend sits by me still? Ah, peace!
Call you this thing my friend? this nameless thing?
This living body, hiding its dead soul?

Lionel Johnson

Note: This sonnet is thought to be directed at “The Destroyer” Oscar Wilde. The “Soul” is perhaps Lord Alfred Douglas.

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About Russell Boyle

Russell Boyle is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. His poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness. Russell is the author of the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 to 10 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Sample poems and questions may be downloaded from http://russellboyle.com
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2 Responses to The Destroyer of a Soul by Lionel Johnson

  1. russellboyle says:

    I agree, indytony. Potent and pointed! Thank you for your kind words about this blog.

  2. indytony says:

    Wow! What a potent poem. I really appreciate how many of the poems you post have definitive spiritual overtones.

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