The man you know, assured and kind,Wearing fame like an old tweed suit ---You would not think he has an incurableSickness upon his mind.
Finely that tongue, for the listening people,Articulates love, enlivens clay;While under his valued skin there crawlsAn outlaw and a cripple.
Unenviable the renown he bearsWhen all's awry within? But a soulDivinely sick may be immunizedFrom the scourge of common cares.
A woman weeps, a friend's betrayed,Civilization plays with fire --His grief or guilt is easily purgedIn a rush of words to the head.
The newly dead, and their waxwork facesWith the look of things that could never have lived,He'll use to prime his cold, strange heartAnd prompt the immortal phrases.
Before you condemn this eminent freakAs an outrage upon mankind,Reflect: something there is in himThat must for ever seek
To share the condition it glorifies,To shed the skin that keeps it apart,To bury its grace in a human bed --And it walks on knives, on knives.--C. Day Lewis
Day Lewis père was a communist who became that most establishmentarian of things, the poet laureate. And Day-Lewis fils (he resumed the hyphen that his father had dropped) is the most chameleon-like of actors.