Poems Page 7


May the cord break! May the cord break!
May the foolish cord, the stupid, stubborn cord
The cord above the crowd, naïve, transfixed -
And may the gymnast balancing
That arm-extending mountebank, that fraud
That death-defying tight-rope walker
Feel the sting of stubborn fibers snap
The rush of air, the flaring of his cape
And see their faces rushing toward him
See their horrified expressions swell,
And then he'll crush as many as he can
Beneath his silken weight, those instruments
Who think that mortal power is salvation
Who think that God adores the powerful,
The smooth who heel-and-toe upon belief -
That foolish cord, that cable of betrayed desire
May it break, and may it let him fall!

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After this, I want to see Caprices -
Freaks and devils nothing to compare
With human demonry and human faces,
The hellishness of Golgotha is there
When rifles leveled give the coup de grace
If they hit home, or else some time to die
With eyes shot out, a severed artery,
Clepsydra that runs the spirit free

Pitiless, the arbiter is chance,
Necessity the courtroom and the dock,
Corpses' culpability is silence,
Justice is the ticking of the clock;
Take them under fire, shouts the colonel -
I'd rather see the carnivals of hell
Than what will happen next, let me not dwell
On parodies no Lucifer would mock

Waste of breath to scream: What have we done?
Mother, father, ancestor and son

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Bury them, be still - or did you know them?
Are they yours? You do not grasp them now,
What they discovered you have never seen,
And what they knew is what you soon may know

Who left them here? What reason did they have
For spilling them like rubbish in the field?
Who would suppose that they were ever loved,
These models of the dead, this wax unsealed

Injustice such that flesh may never judge -
Be silent and lift up the spade and pick
To scrape them into refuge in the mud,
Eyes and mouths and nostrils under it

He who has created must convene
Another world to raise what we have seen

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