(for Chester Kallman)


When one torments another without
It cannot but seem
It cannot but seem
That Death is the only release.

When two torment each other in this
The one by being tormented easily
The other by tormenting actively,
It cannot but seem
It cannot but seem
That Death, as he must come happily,
Should not delay.

Ah this unhappy Two
It seems as if
They never could leave off
Tormenting. And so nervily
All is done,
Death, quieten them.

Why do I think of Death
As a friend?
It is because be is a scatterer,
He scatters the human frame
The nerviness and the great pain,
Throws it on the fresh fresh air
And now it is nowhere.
Only sweet Death does this,
Kind Death, kind Death,
Of all the gods you are best.


Dear child of God
With the tears on your face
And your hands clasped in anger
What is the matter with your race?

In the beginning, Father,
You made the terms of our survival
That we should use our intelligence
To kill every rival.

The poison of this ferocity
Runs in our nature,
And O Lord thou knowest
How it nourishes thy creatures.

Oh what a lively poison it was
To bring us to full growth
Is then becoming loving
As much as our life is worth?

It is a price I would pay
To grow loving and kind
The price of my life
And the life of human kind.

Father in heaven
Dear Father of peacefulness
It is not often we remember
You put this poison in us,

Generally we stand
With the tears on our face
And our hands clasped in anger,
Faithful but unfortunate.

This Issue

January 23, 1964