David Case



The Tarnation of Faust

He read deeply, late into the night,
then remembered what he'd lost.
He dreamed of the woman who dreamed
of the King of Thule, faithful to the end.
He wanted to be that king, and shifted shape,
haunting the rooms of Marguerite.
She would say, "The air is so stuffy!"
She said "I saw him in a dream"
when in fact he was there, like a melody
without contours, written for viola
and muted horns. And he invaded.

She loved him, he hoped that he was capable
of loving her. So they sang together
in thirds, sixths, octaves, and tenths,
in motion contrary and parallel,
while the devil in him grew envious.
The child of such a pair must never live,
he thought. It must die by its mother's hand.
When he had indulged his spite, Marguerite
floated up to join her element,
leaving the scholar to his words,
to his peculiar fire and brimstone.

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© 2001 Electronic Poetry Review