This sonnet is addressed to a sick Blakean rose. I had been looking into the mysterious subject of indole, that fecal essence which haunts the biosphere. In concentration indole has the most horrific fragrance but in homeopathic amounts it smells flowery and delightful (as in orange-blossom) and is in fact present in many of the world’s most carefully-blended perfumes. I think in this poem I was taking comfort – while in a distressed state of mind – telling myself that even the most exquisite expressions of floral nature have foul and fetid secrets hidden deep within them.

Wind-island hovering here
offering garden fragrances
to the incredulous air
do you know anxious glances
bittersweet jealousy
emotional leprosy
which eats away at the heart
tearing the strongest mind apart?
Have you seen storms on this scale
battering down sanity?
Are you fair without vanity
behind a beautiful pink veil?
And is this ambiguous indole
some crystal oil of your soul?

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