Painting Agonies on Artificial Ruins

It is in the power of God, the Devil, and Man, to make me poor and miserable, but neither the second nor third shall make me[…]and by the aid of the first I will persevere in this resolution.


No one’s nuisance so nuanced as
this ever happened to give them
giving in sentiments in giving in


increments, no evidence, then, not yet,
anyway, of anybody
ever sending its end since one’s


never even truly free of
the scrutiny of those who gift
them the security of their aching


loyalty, fading painting agonies
on artificial ruins they
only, and no other makers


of bitter days better, can say
managed to change how I colour
my miseries, damages for which dust


settles, crawls over, when wintering seems
in shadow-fallen grey somehow
possible for those who would know


to somehow, maybe, if only
in theory, anyway, see
what, if not why, ashen anger passing


through this room my life calls its tomb consumes
with smudge from angel-wings, moth-balls
mouthfuls of marbles moss covers,


pulls down hard over choked temples
gun-metal-coloured clouds of trouble
their silent smiles tremble, some terrible


by humble-beg bother smothered until
I father my Self I almost
left three times almost over for


another whose false offer of
what he called love this heart fractured,
however, when I really did shatter,


was misdirected power of a far
different sort altogether,
black æther showering meteor


splatter throughout dimpled craters
haters mistaking for bleakness my
aversion to their weakness tarred over


with ink, plotting holes to make think lovers
thrown away, buried in my shade’s
wake, for what noise I make hovers


an atmosphere where thunder takes
from pain a minute, flakes from days
lost in minutiæ chips of paint


walls I built insist, in some strangest way
demand, as they crack under my
famous wait’s flaming impatience


what haul hastens to swallow whole
this treasured solitude of mine
chastening its allure, ages, matures,


this desired affection silver measures
out from within, banking on those
moments alone being broken


opens veins for, that strength reserved
to purchase belief, persevere,
and be revered for becoming a thief


whose biggest steel is not his knife but this
blade of knowing who’s a bigger
deal, artists days break night to heal.

1Lord Byron, letter to John Hanson, written at and sent from Athens on November 11th, 1810 in “[Chapter] 2[.] The Grand Tour[:] June 1809–July 1811” of “The Letters and Journals” in Byron’s Letters and Journals: A New Selection: From Leslie A. Marchand’s twelve-volume edition: Edited by Richard Lansdown, published at New York by Oxford University Press in 2015; pages 72–73.