Uncle Jim

With love disguised as sin, and then as gold
we learn at first to mimic, then to mold
our "passions from a common spring", it seems,
which leaks its murky water through our dreams.
When all life is conformity, we know
that standing in our slippers in the snow
is not an act of passion, but of pain,
like coughing under awnings in the rain.
When the purest feeling we can show is grief,
(held tightly by the clenched fist of Belief),
then this life truly has become the tired,
brutal world that Joyce had sired,
and though he warned that this is what would be
all men became this likeness (even me),
and when we fear too much to face that pain
we all turn from the whistle of the train.

Note: "passion from a common spring" is a phrase from Poe's "Alone".