Something possessed him in those last years,
some contrary spirit that had him loving to new friends,
bitter deliberate enemy to the old.
Eyes that had burned with hunger burned with cold.
Frail boy, faint ghost of Trotsky,
riven by need to be and speak, how did we not see such greed
for life would turn in the roil of drink and fury
to blunt fear of all that he once was? Something untoward
had uncoiled in his blood, some worm or gall
had bled into the ink, but we who stood wounded,
taken aback, what was our fault? He feared to drown again
in fire, the long climb back to zero if he should fall.
He’d learned that no man can climb Calvary twice.