In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts
I’m always consuming, but it’s never enough
to fill my ever-empty belly.
And there is scarce enough to quaff
to quench this insatiable thirst.
I have lived too long on breadcrumbs
and stagnant water,
so long that I have forgotten the taste
of finer foods and refreshing drink.
I am driven by my belly,
always growling, always unsatisfied,
and not in the least quelled or quieted.
I have been cast into this wasteland
of drought and lack,
banished by my own desires,
the lusts of this body
and the depravity of this wretched mind.
Can’t anyone save me from this hell?
Or am I doomed to wonder this dusty place
for all of eternity?
My teeth are always gnashing,
always clenched in bitter ire,
set on edge and biting,
but never knowing the pleasures of meat.
Oh, that I may have but a morsel
of anything other than this dust,
and this bitter wormwood,
and these sun-bleached bones
littering this desperate landscape.
But there is nothing of pleasure here,
nothing to gratify
my ever-increasing longings.
My emaciated form crawls endlessly
across the infinite and derelict wilderness
crying out for relief,
but there is none to answer my voice.
This is my sentence
and I must pay the penalty for my crimes.
I am no less than deserving
of this torturous existence.
There is no relief here,
and no respite for my wanderings.
There is no shade from the ever-present sun
and no soft place to lay my head.
Oh, that I was a dog or some other beast!
Then I could eat what scraps may fall
from my master’s table.
Even that would be more desirable a presence
than my wasted form in this wasted place.
Oh, that death would take me
from this misery!
But there is no such mercy here.
Oh, wretched man that I am!
Who can save me
from this body of ruination?
Who can rescue me from my torments?
Do not leave me here to die!