Poetry from 09/2014

28 September 2014

In Memory of Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939

When there are so many we shall have to mourn,
when grief has been made so public, and exposed
     to the critique of a whole epoch
   the frailty of our conscience and anguish,

of whom shall we speak? For every day they die
among us, those who were doing us some good,
     who knew it was never enough but
   hoped to improve a little by living.

Such was this doctor: still at eighty he wished
to think of our life from whose unruliness
     so many plausible young futures
   with threats or flattery ask obedience,

but his wish was denied him: he closed his eyes
upon that last picture, common to us all,
     of problems like relatives gathered
   puzzled and jealous about our dying.

For about him till the very end were still
those he had studied, the fauna of the night,
     and shades that still waited to enter
   the bright circle of his recognition

turned elsewhere with their disappointment as he
was taken away from his life interest
     to go back to the earth in London,
   an important Jew who died in exile.


14 September 2014

Orphic Primary Words

A stanza by Goethe articulating his view that the ends to which a human aspires are invariably determined by a person's unchangeable innate character:

As on the day that lent you to the world

The sun received the planet's greetings,

At once and eternally you have thrived

According to the law whereby you stepped forth.

So must you be, from yourself you cannot flee,

So have the Sibyls and the prophets said;

No time, no power breaks into little pieces

The form here stamped and in life developed.