Text of the Poem
Beware of ruins: they have a treacherous charm; Insidious echoes lurk among their stones; That scummy pool was where the fountain soared; The seated figure, whose white arm Beckons you, is a mock-up of dry bones And not, as you believe, your love restored. The moonlight lends her grace, but have a care: Behind her waits the fairy Melusine. The sun those beams refract died years ago. The moat has a romantic air But it is choked with nettles and obscene And phallic fungi rot there as they grow. Beware of ruins; the heart is apt to make Monstrous assumptions on the unburied past; Though cleverly restored, the Tudor tower Is spurious, the facade a fake Whose new face is a death-mask of the last Despairing effort before it all went sour. There are ruins, too, of a less obvious kind; I go back; cannot believe my eyes; the place Is just as I recall: the fire is lit, The table laid, bed warmed; I find My former world intact, but not, alas, The man I was when I was part of it.