John Hall Wheelock

The Black Panther

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There is a panther caged within my breast,
But what his name, there is no breast shall know
Save mine, nor what it is that drives him so,
Backward and forward, in relentless quest--
That silent rage, baffled but unsuppressed,
The soft pad of the stealthy feet that go
Over my body's prison to and fro,
Trying the walls forever without rest.

All day I feed him with my living heart,
But when the night puts forth her dreams and stars,
The inexorable frenzy re-awakes:
His wrath is hurled upon the trembling bars,
The eternal passion stretches me apart,
And I lie silent-- but my body shakes.

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John Hall Wheelock