Over the leaves, in peril and alone,
Delicately dragging your foolish house along,
You wander, and the shell that seems a stone
A thrush could crack between two jets of song.
You move as if some cold, unfruitful act
Accomplished, drew you from distasteful strife,
But beneath that shell your body, cool, compact,
Tenacious, leads its fierce and secret life.
And in that strange house that you never leave
Where no door opens upon curious eyes
You take your secret pleasures and receive
Dim guests, perform Eleusian mysteries.
So I too wear my fragile, social shell
As men desire and will: I deftly fit
My stature to my shelter, knowing well
How you and I together laugh at it!